Key Track: Half Full Glass of Wine - Tame Impala
Brendan Rodgers's appointment as Liverpool manager brought promises of "tiki-taka" football, philosophical prose at press conferences, and, most excitedly, gigantic self-portraits that actually managed to detract from last summer's debacle of a transfer window. Much more under the radar however, was the boss's truly radical idea that players with long injury records may in fact need custom-tailored training programs to keep them fit. The result of this total lunacy was two of the squad's most frequently crocked players, Steven Gerrard and Daniel Agger, showcasing newfound durability over the course of the season.
Agger's fitness proved crucial as the towering Dane was one of the few consistencies in a defense that only took five months to sort out. When the dust settled, Agger was joined by Jamie Carragher in a partnership that eliminated some of the nightmare inducing errors that plagued Liverpool's backline to start the season (for fans of horror movies, enjoy Martin Skrtel's beautiful assist for Carlos Tevez last August). Carragher's reintroduction in the place of Skrtel was probably best for last year's squad, yet caused rather significant changes to Rodgers's ideal tactical setup.
To accommodate Carragher's retiring legs, Rodgers pragmatically altered his defensive set-up -- noticeably pushing the defensive line further back and asking full backs Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique to temper their kamikaze glory days of fall. Of course, the deeper defensive line had knock-on effects further up in midfield. The added space between the lines added to the defensive burden of a midfield corps featuring a recovering Lucas Leiva, a rapidly fading Joe Allen, an aging Gerrard, and, most noticeably, a fully fit bundle of energy in Jordan Henderson.
The point to all of this long-winded rambling is to say that I don't think we've yet seen the best of Daniel Agger in a Liverpool uniform. Last season was an average one for his high standards with much statistical similarity to the preceding years, but one that I think is cause for great optimism moving forward. With Lucas returning to full fitness, Carragher having retired, and, hopefully, another mobile first choice central defender arriving (*paging Mr. Alderweireld*) I imagine we will see Rodgers attempt to re-implement his high defensive line this coming season and with more success than last. Rodgers's staff has seemingly found a training program that keeps Agger fully fit, as testified to by his personal record number of league appearances last term, and it finally seems safe to construct the defense around Denmark's captain.
Season Rating: 7
Like I said, statistically his play was very similar to prior years but the fact that he stayed healthy and dealt with the constant shuffling around him brings the grade up a point. My fortune cookie predicts a career year ahead, so long as Barcelona doesn't come calling.