|Date of Birth||
12 December 1984
|Place of Birth||
1.91 m (6'3")
Daniel Munthe Agger (born 12 December 1984) is a Danish footballer who played for Liverpool as a central defender. At 21-years-old, Agger was signed by Rafael Benitez for £6,000,000 on 12 January 2006 from Danish club Brondby- the highest fee paid by Liverpool for a defender at the time. He quickly found himself in the first team and collected winner's medals from both the 2005-06 FA Cup and 2006 Community Shield within his first few months of life on Anfield.
Although Agger's career on Merseyside was disrupted by various injuries, he was always regarded as one of the finest centre backs at the club during his time there. In addition to his defensive prowess, Agger was renowned for his technical ability and fierce shot on goal. In the 2011-12 season, Agger enjoyed a rare season that was largely injury-free, briefly forming a much-lauded central defensive partnership with Martin Skrtel that kept Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher on the sidelines for the first time in his 15-year career. From there-on, Agger cemented his place as one of the club's first-choice centre backs, putting his injury problems behind him. Despite succeeding Carragher as Liverpool's vice captain in the 2013-14 season, Agger's stock at Liverpool gradually declined during the tenure of manager Brendan Rodgers. Although Agger reportedly had rejected moves to clubs such as Barcelona and Manchester City in order to stay loyal to Liverpool, he eventually agreed to a move back to his boyhood club Brondby on 30 August 2014.
After causing a stir in his native Denmark as a defender with great potential, the then 21 year old was signed by Liverpool on 12 January 2006 for a fee of £6,000,000, and was handed a four-and-a-half year deal. At the time, Agger was the most expensive defender in Liverpool's history- though the record is currently the £75,000,000 signing of Virgil van Dijk. Agger made his Liverpool debut on 1 February 2006 in a 1-1 draw at home to Birmingham City, however injury restricted him to just four appearances for the first team in the 2005-06 season, all coming in the League.
He was a prominent figure in the Liverpool first XI for the 2006-07 season however. His season got off to the best possible start, as he played the duration of Liverpool's triumph in the Community Shield, taking the place of Liverpool stalwart, Sami Hyypia. He opened his goalscoring account for the club in a League game against West Ham Utd on 26 August 2006 with an outstanding long-range strike (below). The goal would go on to be voted Liverpool's goal of the season.
Agger's early performances for Liverpool earned him many plaudits, and he collected the PFA Player of the Month award for September 2006 as he kept Hyypia on the sidelines. He scored his second goal for the club on 8 November 2006 in the League Cup fourth round away to Birmingham, sealing a 1-0 win for his side with a low volley. He scored again on 31 March 2007- a header in a 4-1 home League win against Arsenal. Perhaps the defining moment of Agger's early Liverpool career came in the Champions League semi final against Chelsea. In the first leg at Stamford Bridge on 25 April 2007, Agger came up against Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and struggled to contain the big Ivorian all game. He was considered at fault for Chelsea's goal as Drogba took the ball past Agger with ease before setting up Joe Cole to score and seal a 1-0 win for the Blues. In the return leg at Anfield on 1 May however, Agger gave a man of the match performance as he not only helped his team keep a clean sheet, but also scored the goal that levelled the tie on aggregate- a low curling shot from the edge of the area after being set up by a Steven Gerrard free kick. The tie then went to penalties, which Liverpool won. Agger was praised for his mental strength to come back and put in such a performance after the disappointment at Stamford Bridge. Agger was then selected to play the duration of the Champions League final and provided the assist for Liverpool's only goal, scored by Dirk Kuyt in an eventual 2-1 loss to AC Milan.
Agger started the 2007-08 season in encouraging fashion, scoring goals in pre-season fixtures and starting some of Liverpool's early League games, however he broke a metatarsal in September. Agger began training again in January 2008, however a recurrence of the injury then ruled him out for the remainder of the season as it was determined that he required surgery. Agger's place in the team was taken by Sami Hyypia, and Liverpool also reinforced their backline with the purchase of Martin Skrtel in the January transfer window.
Agger began training at Melwood again in the run up to the new season and on 12 July 2008, returned to action in a pre-season friendly against Tranmere. Agger started Liverpool's first competitive game of the new season in a Champions League qualifier against Standard Liege, however he was left out of the team for much of the early part of the season as Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez preferred Skrtel and Hyypia as Jamie Carragher's centre back partner. Rumours of a rift between Agger and Benitez began to surface as a result, however these were denied. Martin Skrtel however was to suffer injury in October 2008 and this gave Agger his opportunity to return to the first team. His first Premier League game back since his exodus from the starting XI was against Wigan Athletic on 18 October 2008. Agger was at fault for Wigan's first goal, but made amends by assisting Dirk Kuyt as Liverpool won 3-2. Agger scored another trademark long-range strike against Blackburn on 11 April 2009, a goal he dedicated to the victims of the Hillsborough disaster- the anniversary of which the club was honouring. Agger was rewarded for his regained form with a contract extension tying him to the club until 2014 in May 2009.
Agger was again beset by injury though and in August 2009 underwent surgery for a recurrant back problem. This kept the Dane out for over two months, making his comeback on 25 October 2009 in a 2-0 League win over Manchester United at Anfield. Agger went on to figure prominently in the starting XI of the team for the rest of the season, which was proving to be a difficult one for the team. In order to try and subvert a poor run of results, Rafael Benitez began to employ a more defensive look to his team, which occasionally saw Agger used as a left back. Agger reached a century of competitive games for Liverpool on 25 February 2010 in a Europa League game against Romanian side Unirea Urziceni. Agger scored his seventh Liverpool goal in the Europa League quarter final tie against Benfica with an exquisite backheeled finish (below).
Unfortunately for Agger, his injury problems were not yet behind him and he spent long periods of the 2010-11 season on the sidelines. In Liverpool's curtain-raiser to the season at home to Arsenal, Agger suffered a concussion causing him to miss the team's next few games. Other injury problems also saw Agger unavailable for selection for much of the rest of 2010. He was also struggling to get into the team ahead of Martin Skrtel, who new coach Roy Hodgson preferred to Agger. These frustrations led to Agger threatening to quit Anfield, however his fortunes were to change when Kenny Dalglish replaced Hodgson as manager in January 2011 after a dismal start to the season. Dalglish brought Agger back into the side as Liverpool's form started to improve, however Agger was again struck with injury- this time to his knee- on 2 March 2011 in a game against West Brom, ruling him out for the remainder of the season.
In the run up to the 2011-12 season, Agger stated his belief that his injury problems were behind him. He began the season ahead of Martin Skrtel in the pecking order as Carragher's defensive partner, and performed well as Liverpool made an encouraging start to their League campaign. On 18 September 2011, Liverpool played Tottenham at White Hart Lane in the League. Tottenham had Liverpool firmly on the back foot from the very beginning of the game, with Agger arguably the only Liverpool player to effectively stand up to the Tottenham barrage. Unfortunately, a collision left him with fractured ribs early on in the game, forcing him off as Spurs went on to win 4-0. Agger returned from the injury on 18 October 2011 in a friendly game against Rangers and soon reclaimed his place in the starting XI, however this time he did so ahead of Jamie Carragher. Agger's partnership with Skrtel has been a revelation, with the two helping Liverpool to form one of the tightest defences in the League. Incredibly, both Agger and Skrtel achieved 100 Premier League appearances for Liverpool on 29 October 2011 in a 2-0 win against West Brom. On 30 December 2011, Agger scored an unfortunate own goal against Newcastle at Anfield, putting the Magpies 1-0 up, though Liverpool went on to win 3-1. Agger scored his eighth Liverpool goal on 28 January 2012 in the FA Cup fourth round tie against Manchester United at Anfield. His header from a Steven Gerrard corner put Liverpool 1-0 up, in a match they would go on to win 2-1.
Agger helped Liverpool seal their first piece of silverware in six years on 26 February 2012, when he started Liverpool's penalty shootout victory over Cardiff in the 2012 League Cup Final. Agger however had to be replaced by Jamie Carragher just before full time of normal time as he suffered a rib fracture, which kept him out of action for just over a month. Upon return to fitness, Agger was quickly restored to the starting XI and was involved in the team's unsuccessful FA Cup final. He scored his first Premier League goal in over three years on 8 May 2012, netting a header at home to Chelsea.
In the summer of 2012, Agger became linked with a possible move to clubs such as Premier League champions Manchester City and Spanish giants Barcelona. Reports surfaced of bids from Man City in August, which was followed by suggestion that the club would be prepared to sell the defender for a fee in excess of £20,000,000 in order to raise funds for incoming transfers. The idea of the club selling Agger was met with widespread disdain and condemnation from the Liverpool faithful, who hold Agger in extremely high regard.
The Liverpool fans were placated somewhat when, on 8 August 2012, Agger turned up to training bearing "YNWA" (You'll Never Walk Alone) tattooed onto his knuckles, however speculation persisted Agger would be sold at the right price. Agger himself spoke on Danish radio about the situation, stressing his wish to stay and also claiming that any decision to sell him would be made by the board, and not manager Brendan Rodgers.
With his future still unclear, Agger started Liverpool's first game of the Premier League season- away to West Brom. Early in the second half, Agger was sent off for a foul on West Brom forward Shane Long, also conceding a penalty in the process. Brendan Rodgers later criticised both decisions as 'harsh.' As the transfer window shut, Agger remained at Liverpool and on 5 October 2012, he signed a new long-term contract at the club- reportedly tying him down until 2016. Upon signing, Agger stated: "It means everything to me. This is where I want to be and I'm happy the club want me. I am really happy right now. I've never wanted to go anywhere else."
On 1 December 2012, Agger opened his account for the 2012-13 season, scoring the winner in a 1-0 victory over Southampton. He netted his second goal of the campaign on 30 December 2012 with a header from a Steven Gerrard cross. The goal was Liverpool's third in the 3-0 victory away to QPR, and marked Liverpool's- as well as the Premier League's final goal of the 2012 calendar year.
Agger reached his 200th appearance for Liverpool on 21 February 2013 in a home Europe League tie against Zenit St. Petersburg. With Liverpool trailing 2-0 from the first leg, the Reds recorded a 3-1 win at Anfield, but were eliminated on away goals. Agger produced a determined attacking display and went close to getting on the scoresheet, however he was unable to mark his milestone with the result Liverpool needed to progress in the competition. Agger's next goal came on 27 April 2013, scoring in the third minute of an away tie with Newcastle. Agger beat the offside trap to head in a cross from Stewart Downing to set Liverpool on their way to a resounding 6-0 win.
On 9 August 2013, it was confirmed that Agger was to become Liverpool's vice-captain, replacing the retired Jamie Carragher. This came shortly after reports had surfaced that Barcelona had made a bid to sign the highly-rated Dane, however Brendan Rodgers stated that Agger had informed the club that whilst ever he was still wanted at Anfield, he would not seek to leave. Agger began the 2013-14 season partnering Kolo Toure in the centre of defence. However he soon found himself spending more time on the bench as new arrival Mamadou Sakho jumped ahead of him in the pecking order at left centre back.
On 1 January 2014, Agger scored his first goal of the season, meeting a Philippe Coutinho corner with his head in a 2-0 win over Hull. During much of 2014, Agger played second fiddle to Sakho as partner to Skrtel in defence. Speculation over his future mounted, however he was restored to the starting line up on 11 May 2014 in Liverpool's end-of-season clash at home to Newcastle. With the Reds trailing 1-0, Agger scored the equaliser by meeting a Steven Gerrard free kick at the back post.
This match proved to be Agger's last for the club. Brendan Rodgers further strengthened his defensive options over the summer with the £20,000,000 addition of Southampton's Dejan Lovren. It was widely expected that Agger would indeed leave Anfield and on 30 August 2014, it was announced that Agger had re-signed for Brondby in Denmark, reportedly for a £3,000,000 transfer fee. Perceived as a player of impeccable loyalty to Liverpool, the Liverpool fanbase took to social media to inundate Agger with messages of support. Upon leaving, Agger said: "Liverpool have been such a big part of my life and my family's lives for so long, that leaving is extremely difficult. The opportunity arose for me to return home to Brondby and at this stage of my career it felt like the right decision for me. I wouldn't leave here to go anywhere else and that has been proven by my actions in recent seasons- I have turned down many offers to move to other Premier League and European clubs," whilst going on to concede that he had "started to feel the effects of playing regularly in a league that is as physically demanding as the Premier League is, and I would not want to stay if I did not think that I was able to meet that challenge week in, week out." Brendan Rodgers wished Agger well, and praised the "unique connection" he has with the Liverpool fans.
Agger is a very complete defender, being positionally astute, dominant in the air and smart with his tackling. He displays an unusual technical ability for a centre back, which he uses to good effect in his defensive duties and is arguably the reason behind his impressive disciplinary record. He usually chooses to play the ball from the back, as opposed to using long-ball clearances and can often be seen single-handedly charging with the ball across to the opponents half. He has demonstrated a remarkable ability to fiercely strike the ball from distance, and when in a good position to do so, the Kop can often be heard shouting 'shoot!'
- Danish Football Player of the Year: 2007, 2012
- No. 45 on 100 Players Who Shook The Kop (2013)
|Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other||Total|
- Daniel Agger career stats at Soccerbase
- Daniel Agger's profile on liverpoolfc.com
- Daniel Agger player profile at LFCHistory.net