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Liverpool Player Review: Daniel Agger

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Yep, this was pretty sweet.
Yep, this was pretty sweet.

Is there a more confounding type of player than the one Agger happens to be? On the one hand, this is the type of quality you want to build around. Commanding in the air, confident in marshaling his compatriots in the back line, assured with the ball, and enough pace to recover on the rare times he's out of position. So much of what Liverpool want to do is based on having a player like Agger. The ball possession and the high-line Dalglish wants require a player like Agger. But on the other hand, you simply can't count on him to be there. He's basically a balloon animal. Filled with air and easily busted. Where you go with him is really anybody's guess, there doesn't seem to be a right answer.

Positives: Well, there was January. Agger started every game at the beginning of Dalglish's run of excellence, beginning with the 3-0 over Wolves. He was in the lineup for the next three wins as well, where Liverpool didn't concede a goal. Whenever Agger did get in the lineup, and it wasn't much, and he wasn't shunted out to left-back by Hodgson for no reason, it could be argued that Agger made the team go as much as anyone else. Not only was his defending key to the start of everything, but it's Agger's ability to actually play the ball out of the back that sets far more up for the Reds. He can give the ball to the midfield, or pick a pass to a wide player and get things rolling. When he gets forward, the threat of his Hammer of Thor shot keeps teams honest. It's no coincidence that when Agger is out of the lineup, the possession for Liverpool goes down, as does their passing percentage.

Negatives: 12. That's the amount of games Agger started in the league. It's really the only blip on his record, but impossible to ignore. Agger was absent for the run in to the season, and one wonders if the last two results of the season might have been different if he was around. Agger has never managed more than 23 league games in a season, and simply breaks down too easily.

Outlook: It's hard to say. If talking about straight quality, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better central defender than Agger. There's been talk of moving Martin Kelly inside, but even if that were to come off there would be an adjustment period that Liverpool may not be able to live with in a chase for a Champions League spot. But you simply can't count on Daniel Agger that much. He's not going to stay healthy. Can you really sell him on, though? And then watch the health concerns clear up and turn into one of the world's best? No, you probably can't do that either. What's more likely is that you bring in someone, keep Agger, and let he, Skrtel, Carragher, and whatever acquisition you bring in battle it out. That would seem to be the only way.