As Liverpool’s defensive woes continue this season, one of the former stars of their back-line appears to be finding his form.
On the same Sunday that Brendan Rodgers’ side fell to a 3-1 defeat at Crystal Palace, a starring performance from Daniel Agger helped Brondby seal a 1-0 home win over SonderjyskE, with manager Thomas Frank full of praise for his star centre-back at the final whistle.
“He is the most talented player in the league,” he told Danish news outlet BT. “He is a class centre-back. He leads with his aura which is now about the whole team. He positions himself correct and wisely and wins not least his own duels.”
Agger has made eight appearances for Brondby since a shock £3 million summer return from Liverpool and, while he has been dealing with various niggling injuries, his influence has been clear for all to see.
The Danish Superliga club have conceded just four goals during his time on the pitch, but slumped to a 3-0 defeat to Hobro IK earlier this month after the ex-Reds ace was forced off at half-time with a calf issue while the score was still deadlocked.
“I do not think you can put it all on me [being absent],” Agger said on the recent loss. “It was a collective collapse, and it happens. It was a bump in the road, and it's even more important that we won this game and kept a cleansheet.”
Signed from Brondby in January 2006 for a reported £5.8 million, Agger made 236 appearances during his eight-and-a-half years at Liverpool, but the signings of Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren over the past two seasons saw him fall out of contention for a regular starting place.
Featuring in 20 league games last term, the Denmark international was rumoured this summer to be moving to Napoli to reunite with Rafa Benitez, who first brought him to England, as well as with a £12 million switch to Atletico Madrid, but opted instead to take a considerable wage cut to return to the club he first joined at the age of 12.
Now, however, fans at Anfield might be starting to question whether shipping him out was a wise move, having seen their side concede 18 goals over their opening 12 Premier League games, and with Lovren enduring a torrid start at the club.
Set to turn 30 next month, age is of course catching up with him, as are the fitness problems, but, if Liverpool held ambitions of another title challenge this season, then perhaps the club shouldn't have been so quick to offload him.