Agger determined to battle for his place
Liverpool vice-captain unused to being confined to the substitutes’ bench
Liverpool’s Daniel Agger: “I want to play every time in every single game.” Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty
The Liverpool vice-captain was recalled to the team for Saturday’s 4-0 defeat of Fulham, having had a rare substitute’s role for the previous five games. He responded with an authoritative display as Liverpool kept their first clean sheet in nine matches.
Agger’s problems started in mid-September when he suffered a tear to his abdominal muscle while attempting to prevent a dumb-bell falling on his foot in training. He missed the 2-2 draw at Swansea City as a consequence, returned to play through the pain barrier in the home defeat by Southampton but aggravated the injury and sat out the league cup defeat at Manchester United.
The 28-year-old’s recovery coincided with Rodgers deploying Kolo Toure, Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho in a three-man central defence before defeat at Arsenal prompted a return to a back four and a recall for the influential Denmark international.
“It’s been difficult,” admitted Agger. “It’s hard to describe and I want to play every time in every single game, so when you’re not playing it’s difficult. But I just have to work even harder every single day in training, not complain and just do everything that little bit extra.
“I feel I belong there. I feel I’m more than capable of being in the team, but it’s the manager’s decision. Sometimes that’s difficult to change in training. You need to grab the chance when it’s there and that’s what football is about . . . .”
Agger insists he did not seek an explanation for being left out of the team.
“It’s been a bit longer than I hoped for, but when you get the chance, you need to do everything you can to keep your place.”
The Liverpool defender has been coveted by Barcelona and Manchester City in recent transfer windows and his omission prompted suggestions Agger would consider his Anfield future if he remained on the margins by January. But he added:
“As long as I’m doing everything to be in that team and I feel I’m good enough and the manager can use me, then I’ll be here.”