Our second segment to determine the POY honor, remember to vote after the jump...
Everybody said before the season that if Agger could stay healthy, then he would be a force in our defense. Even withstanding a three week absence due to a rib injury, Agger has made 31 appearances, his highest total since the 06/07 season. In the grand scheme of things, the rib injury was only a minor setback that shouldn't affect a strong POY candidacy. In general, "everybody" has been correct; Agger has indeed been a major force in our defense, leading us to some of our better early season results.
During the games when Agger was out, Liverpool went 5-6 (lots of research to figure that nugget out) including some of our worst losses. The defense transformed from a calm well put together unit into a jittery freak show (not a direct jab at John Flanagan's appearance). The reason for this transformation was partially because of a washed up and overmatched Jamie Carragher, but also largely because Martin Skrtel has never felt comfortable in the back without Agger as a defensive partner. Agger's presence alone led to a much better and cohesive unit.
In the back, Agger is quick with his feet and almost never gets beat. He is decisive in the air and usually knows when to clear upfield and when it is safe enough to go with a shorter pass to start a counter attack. His communication with his teammates is excellent, and his absence was especially missed in the defense of corners where there was not any real leader to assemble order and organization. While defensive abilities and impact are sometimes difficult to measure with statistical analysis, I counted at least four goals conceded off of corners in the short period of time that Agger missed. Agger's only real flaw is that he will occasionally fly into poor challenges, but then again, what defender doesn't?
The final attribute that Agger possesses is his unusual attacking skills for a central defender. Earlier in his LFC career, we saw it a bit more of it, but there are still moments where you wonder if he was a striker in another life. He gets us a couple of headed goals off corners each season, and his glancing header led to Carroll's winner against Blackburn. He has an absolute jackhammer of a left boot, and he can certainly hit some brilliant long shots (remember the cracker off the bar earlier this year against Bolton?) and power free-kicks. When he finds himself on a wing he can cross it very well and pull off some nifty skill moves.
Final Opinion: I definitely see Agger as our POY. He is the best defender on team that's only bright spot really has been its defense. Injuries haven't been a big factor (His 31 appearances have already exceeded SamFel's preseason plea for him to get to 25 appearances) and I don't think anyone can argue his value on defense. Add in Agger's attacking ability, and I think he's the winner.