Daniel Agger joined Liverpool in January 2006 for £6m, a bargain price for a top quality centre-back. Over the years since, he has been linked with moves away to clubs such as AC Milan, Juventus and Barcelona (assuming you believe what you read).
In view of his injury record, should Liverpool cash in on him this summer and bring in someone new? In my opinion, no.
Whilst his injury record is a concern, in some cases he has just been unlucky. He only made 5 league starts in 2007/08, but that was down to a metatarsal injury sustained in September of that season, and that could happen to any player.
He has played 1 more league game than Rio Ferdinand in the last 3 seasons, and whilst the England international also faces accusations of being constantly beset by injuries, you don’t hear too many people saying United should ditch him.
He also understands what it means to play for Liverpool, and at very few clubs is it so important to the fans that the players are in tune with them.
Following Fernando Torres’ move to Chelsea in January, Agger told Ekstra Bladet (a Danish newspaper):
“It is unacceptable to play for one of Liverpool’s arch rivals. For a Dane, it’s about having respect for the club you play at. I am proud to be able to pull on my Liverpool jersey and will never go to another club in England. I would never go to Manchester United or Everton, for example. It’s about a form of respect for the club”.
On a personal level, Daniel Agger is on a spectacular run of form. Check out his last nine appearances (LFC score listed first):
West Bromwich Albion (A) 1-2 (Subbed off injured after 24 mins)
Sunderland (A) 2-0 (played 90 mins)
Sparta Prague (H) 1-0 (subbed off after 84 mins)
Chelsea (A) 1-0 (played 90 mins)
Stoke City (H) 2-0 (played 90 mins)
Fulham (H) 1-0 (played 90 mins)
Wolverhampton Wanderers (A) 3-0 (played 90 mins)
Everton (H) 2-2 (subbed off at half time)
Blackpool (A) 1-2 (played 90 mins)
The second goal in the Blackpool game was after 69 minutes, both Everton goals were in the second half, and West Brom’s first goal was in the 62nd minute.
Therefore, Daniel Agger is on a personal run of 624 minutes without conceding a goal in all competitions. This won’t have been all down to him of course, but it’s an impressive run, no question.
I think he makes a very good pairing with Jamie Carragher. It’s an obvious analogy, but it really does seem like he is the Scandinavian ice to Carragher’s Scouse fire. In that respect at least, he has taken on Sami Hyypia’s role.
The Dane could also prove invaluable from a tactical point of view. Dalglish showed a willingness to play with three central defenders at times last season, and this formation is ideal for Agger, as the one ball playing centre back that Liverpool currently possess.
It’s also a benefit to have his type of player for home games with lesser opposition, where the visitors defend deeply to deny Liverpool space. By stepping up into the midfield, he pushes the whole team forward, and can thread a good pass to the forward thinking players whilst he’s there for good measure.
Ultimately, his injury record does warrant discussion about whether he should be retained by Liverpool or not. But ask yourself this – with a threadbare squad already in need of a large overhaul, how much would it cost to replace a defender of Daniel Agger’s stature and quality?
A darn sight more than £6m.