Even though he spent Rodgers’ inaugural campaign injury-free, the Dane almost seemed worse off for it. Of course, the entire squad struggled to adapt to Brendan’s philosophy in the beginning, but later on in the season it seemed like playing all those games was taking a toll on Agger, due to frequent lapses in concentration that led to him making mistakes at the back. More often than not, these led to goals.
For most of this season, his fortunes hadn’t really seemed too have changed too much. Though he was part of the defence that kept 3 clean sheets in the opening 3 games of the season, Agger eventually lost his place in the side to new signing Mamadou Sakho, and even found Skrtel ahead of him in the pecking order; though some have speculated that this is because Rodgers doesn’t like having two left-footed centre backs partnering each other. With a clear preference for Sakho, Rodgers left Agger on the bench for most of Autumn and Winter and fans felt resigned to the fact that Agger would be sold in the summer.
Fast forward a couple of months though and his fortunes seemed to have changed. After returning from injury before Sakho, Agger was put straight back into the starting line up after Kolo Toure’s recent horror show next to Skrtel against West Brom and Fulham. Even though his return was in the 2-1 defeat in the FA Cup to Arsenal and the following game saw him part of the defence that conceded 3 goals against Swansea, he’s shown a remarkable improvement in the two games since.
Southampton and Manchester United are arguably two of our most difficult away fixtures this season, and we kept clean sheets in both of them with two 3-0 wins. While our defence certainly struggled in the first half at St. Mary’s, it grew stronger in the second as we saw out the game, and while United didn’t offer a great deal going forward, Agger produced one of his most commanding performances to keep them out. Considering that in this fixture last season it was his lapse in concentration that led to Van Persie scoring, that’s a remarkable improvement.
As Rodgers plans for Champions League football next season, Agger’s experience in that competition will be vital. As a Rafa signing, his knowledge and advice will be incredibly beneficial to the likes of Sterling, Henderson, Allen and even Suarez and Sturridge who have only had limited appearances in the competition. If he keeps this form up to the end of the season, Rodgers will have no choice but to make him part of his plans to conquer Europe.