Liverpool’s Danish defender Daniel Agger, out of action since last September with a foot injury that required surgery, came unscathed through 76 minutes of the Reds’ 1-0 victory at Tranmere on Sunday.
“I think Daniel did OK,” Liverpool manager Rafa Benítez told the press. “The main thing for us was to see if he could play and he had no problems. He will be a good addition for the team.”
Many fans believe Agger’s absence was a major factor in Liverpool’s inability to sustain the excellent start they made in the Premier League last season. With Agger in the side they were unbeaten, without him they fell away.
Agger himself is glad to be back.
“It has been way too long for me,” he told reporters after the match. “It has been the most frustrating time of my career and I am trying to look forward now and not back on how bad it has been.
“I was low but you have to concentrate on coming back as soon as possible, keep working and that is the most important thing, don’t be sad about what happened but keep looking forward. Everybody helped me but I know myself best and I have a really strong will to get back.
“What happened is such a long story that I don’t think anyone has the time to hear it. What is important is that I am pain-free and comfortable now.”
After injuring a metatarsal in September, Agger was on the verge of a first-team return in January, only to suffer a recurrence of the injury that ended his season.
“I feel like I am starting over,” Agger said. “You can say that I have missed a lot of football or, you can say that there is a lot to come. I didn’t play and that’s how it is. I am focused on this season and I really, really have been working hard to keep my fitness level up. Of course, I worked throughout the summer and my target has been to keep my fitness high so that I am ready for the first day of the season.
“The competition for places will be hard. That’s what you expect at a club like Liverpool. I will fight for my place and the rest of the players will do the same.”
With Agger back in the side, it will be interesting to see who Benitez sees as his preferred central pairing. Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger are being tipped by many fans as the way forward.
Liverpool now decamp to Switzerland for training and a series of friendlies. In the meantime, Benitez will be hoping to bring a new striker to the squad to replace the departed Peter Crouch.
Lets hope Agger’s injury is firmly a thing of the past.