My mum is an eternal defeatist, so when she remarked, a few weeks ago: “they’ll definitely score from this,” I ignored her and prayed she was wrong. Adam Johnson whips in the corner. Daniel Agger completely misses it. Ball bounces. I swallow some vomit. Suddenly Jon Flanagan is nowhere near Ki and the ball is in the back of the net. I zone out as my mum brags, and sigh because deep down, I knew it would happen.
Since Mamadou Sakho returned from injury, most fans (“most fans” includes me) have tentatively suggested that we should keep the back four consistent, so as not to disrupt the relationship they might have built up over the last few months. As we saw in the nervy final fifteen minutes against Sunderland, our defence can be weak at the best of times.
Clearly, it’s not all Daniel Agger’s fault. I’m one of Agger’s biggest fans – if we believe the papers, he’s had chances to join bigger clubs and chosen against it. Not only that, but he had YNWA tattooed across his knuckles. However, it’s become evident that his aerial defending and organisation is lacking in the quality we may need to see out the rest of the season successfully – i.e. the quality we may need to win the league.
“But what do you suggest, Huw?! It’s not like we have a £15M, left-footed, fully-fit, ideal replacement centre back just waiting in the wings!” That’s where you’re wrong, voice in my head. Mamadou Sakho was a very exciting signing for me. And while basing my judgement of players of previous FIFA careers proved embarrassing with regards to Aly Cissokho, I trust Sakho implicitly. Yes, he backs himself to make every challenge and lunges out of the line in order to do so, but his aerial command and strength is what Liverpool need right now. I’m not sure ‘fortunately’ is the right word but: fortunately, Agger was out with an injury for the West Ham game. We needed Sakho in that game, and scraped through – just about. I’m not entirely sure this would have happened had Agger started the game. The Manchester City game saw Sakho keep his place and, but for a few dodgy passes, was solid enough next to the almost ever-present Martin Skrtel.
It does seem that Mamadou Sakho could be the man that Rodgers will trust as our left centre-back for the remaining fixtures, so that begs the question: what about Agger?
As I mentioned, interest from bigger clubs has been prominent in recent seasons and I think this all points to Agger’s time being up at Liverpool. And that saddens me more than I care to admit. His tenure has been one of loyalty, commitment and love for our club; however, with Sakho a well-suited, young replacement that has world class potential itching to be given a shot, Tiago Ilori and Andrew Wisdom impressing in their loan spells at Granada and Derby, respectively, it might be time to cash in on Daniel Agger.
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