Liverpool defender Daniel Agger said he feels he belongs in the first team but what about the man he replaced in the side in Mamadou Sakho?
Agger initially lost his place in the side due to a freak incident in the gym before returning to the team the following week against Southampton where he suffered a rib injury – and until the 4-0 win over Fulham at the weekend he hadn’t started a game.
Sakho was thrown in at the deep end against Swansea, having only just joined the club and looked a little rusty, and admittedly there have been continued signs of that – which in all fairness are to be expected.
For Agger to return to the side the likelihood was that Sakho would have to make way given the form of Martin Skrtel and that playing two left-footed defenders at the heart of the defence when it isn’t forced upon the side brings a lack of balance - notably when in possession at the back and up against pace.
Overall Sakho’s performances haven’t been bad, there is obvious room for improvement but he has looked calm on the ball, he seems to tackle well – and usually times those challenges those tackles quite well.
His downfall has perhaps been when to know when he should step forward or step back in the defensive line – you might recall a debate that Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville had on Monday Night Football over the very same situation involving Chelsea’s David Luiz.
But that can be a case of not quite getting to grips with the defensive structure – which is going to take more than the eight appearances he has had in a Liverpool shirt to understand.
There was a surprising element that in a build-up to a big game in the Merseyside derby in a couple of weeks, given that Sakho is the more physical defender of the two, he wasn’t given the nod as Liverpool reverted to a back four – just to allow the Frenchman to re-adapt before he’d handle the threat of the powerful Romelu Lukaku at Goodison Park in a couple of weeks’ time.
This is not to say Agger doesn’t deserve his place, but it does seem a little harsh on Sakho.
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