Brendan Rodgers focused on defence as a main priority to strengthen over the summer transfer window by signing three central defenders to add to his three who were already at the club. He has chopped and changed the central defensive pairings throughout the season but now seems to have found the right fit with Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho both holding strong in front of Simon Mignolet.
Daniel Agger was promoted to vice-captain following Jamie Carragher’s retirement in the summer so many assumed he would be Rodgers’ automatic choice in central defence. However, after spending £18 million on Sakho, who plays on the left side of the centre of defence – the same as Agger – many wondered how he would be utilised.
He has been injured and his time in the team has suffered because of that, but Rodgers has dipped him in and out of the team when fit, prompting speculation about his future. The Dane’s star and admiration from fans has risen over the past year as he snubbed the likes of Barcelona and Manchester City to remain loyal to Liverpool – he even tattooed ‘YNWA’ across his knuckles.
Agger is well and truly a Liverpool fan and loyal to the cause, but whether he will be a Liverpool player for much longer is another debate to be had. The Daily Mail report that Napoli are interested in the 29-year-old.
The tall centre-half has struggled this season. His poor form has seen him fall behind the club’s most expensive defender in their history, Sakho, who’s stepped up to the plate and lead by example.
One of Agger’s flaws this season has been his ability to win duels – headed or ground – so it is no wonder that the Dane finds himself behind Sakho, who has been dominant in both of those aspects. Agger comes fourth out of four of Liverpool’s central defenders for headed duels won – 20 to be precise. Just three behind Sakho but he’s also trailing by eight in the tackles won department, too.
The Frenchman has won 65% of his tackles, compared to Agger’s 36%. From just those two figures it’s easy to see why Rodgers has preferred Sakho to his vice-captain. Kolo Toure has won an astonishing 70% of his tackles this season so Agger is quite a way behind even Toure, the free transfer from Man City.
Agger is famed for his ability to bring the ball out of defence and play it forwards but he’s not done that enough this season. He’s only completed one take-on in his eight appearances. Sakho has completed three times that.
The Denmark international is also inferior when it comes to pass accuracy. He has completed 87% of his passes, which isn’t bad, but compared to Sakho – who has the best accuracy in the Liverpool team – it isn’t good enough. The Frenchman has completed 92% of his attempted 408 passes. He’s only played one more match than Agger but has attempted almost 100 more passes, showing just how much more confident – and better – he has been in possession.
Agger’s main appeal is that he brings the ball forward from the back, building attacks, but Sakho is doing it better so it is no wonder that the Dane is struggling to regain his place in the side.
Sakho even has a goal to his name so not only is he more dominant at the back, he’s more of a threat going forward. He should’ve doubled his tally at White Hart Lane at the weekend as he hit the post from a close-range header.
Agger also comes last in Squawka’s Performance Score out of the four defenders, with 103. In comparison, Skrtel has scored 401 points and Sakho has 270.
Agger is lagging behind in pretty much every department when compared to his fellow central defenders so it is no wonder that he’s lost his place in Rodgers’ side.
A move away from the club is looking likely right now, though he may not be allowed to move in January, he may be let go next summer. Tiago Ilori was signed from Sporting Lisbon over the summer and the club have high hopes that he can step up next season, so one would expect Agger to be on his way out of the club unless a dramatic turn in form occurs.
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