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Agger raring to go: Will return of Liverpool defender make the difference?

After injury ruled him out of the vast majority of last season, Liverpool’s Danish centre-half is back in training and no doubt raring to go. But will the return to fitness of Liverpool’s cultured defender really matter now Liverpool have Martin Skrtel?

The 2007/08 season started promisingly for Agger (23), with the young viking scoring two goals in four games, including a tasty left-footed finish against Hong Kong outfit South China AA in pre-season.

However, he suffered a metatarsal injury in September, which kept him in the treatment room until after Christmas. In January 2008, Agger began training and was on the verge of regaining fitness when a heart-wrenching recurrence of the injury in his 2nd metatarsal ruled him out of action once again.

Agger promptly underwent surgery and was ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Now back in training, Agger (who in his spare time fancies himself as a bit of a tattoo artist apparently!) will no doubt be eager to re-establish himself as in Rafa Benitez’s first-team plans. However, this might not be so easy, what with Martin Skrtel having impressed in central defence since joining the club in January on a four-and-a-half year contract.

Skrtel impressed alongside Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyypiä, who covered for Agger for most of the season. The Finnish defender did so well that Benitez has kept him at Anfield for another season, well aware that the former captain is still capable of performing at the highest level.

Agger will have to show plenty of the skill and determination that made him such a firm favourite with the fans during the 2006/07 season.

It’s not just Liverpool who are counting on the return to form of Daniel Agger.

“We’ve got vital World Cup-qualifiiers coming up and we need Daniel ready for the national team,” Denmark coach Morton Olsen told Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet.

It’s clear that with the return to fitness of Agger, the departure of own-goal specialist John Arne Riise, and the acquisition of Dossena and Philipp Degen, Liverpool’s defence will have a new (and hopefully commanding) look this coming season.

Who do Liverpool fans think Benitez will start the season with in defence? Agger and Carragher in middle with Fabio Aurelio and Alavaro Arbelola at left and right-back? Or will Skrtel keep Agger out of the squad? Then again, will Rafa wind Carragher up and dump him in the right-back slot, and hand the left-back position to new boy Andreas Dossena?

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