Agger: "I Will Not Be Third Choice"

Julian Finney

After finding himself on the bench as the season neared its end, Daniel Agger is less than certain about his Liverpool future.

With Martin Skrtel rather comfortably establishing himself as Liverpool's best defender of the 2013-14 season and a lock to start each and every week, as the year wore on the only question became which of Daniel Agger or Mamadou Sakho would partner him at the back.

Both had a case to make, Agger's experience partnering with Skrtel up against Sakho's promise, but neither did enough to make the position unquestionably their own. Neither ever played poorly enough to ever suggest the role shouldn't be theirs, either.

As a result, Brendan Rodgers largely let fitness determine who would start. All things considered, it was probably his only real option. It did, however, mean that Agger was on the sidelines as the season neared its end, a situation the player himself says he took rather badly.

"It certainly wasn't fun," Agger told Ekstra Bladet when asked about being left out of key matches down the stretch against Chelsea and Manchester City. "But it's not for me to decide. Perhaps it's because the manager doesn't think that I'm good enough."

Given the long stretches Sakho spent on the bench waiting for his turn while Agger started earlier in the season, it seems fairly clear Rodgers does think the Danish vice captain is good enough. If he didn't, Sakho would have been first choice throughout. He wasn't.

While Skrtel's 36 league starts mark him as the clear number one, Agger's 16 starts and four appearances off the bench put him in a dead heat with Sakho's 17 starts and one appearances off the bench. Meanwhile, Kolo Toure made 15 starts, though mostly in the first half of the season.

"I don't know," Agger added when pressed on whether he sees himself remaining at Liverpool next season given his clear disappointment and that he believes his manager doesn't fully believe in him. "That's up to the manager. I can't put myself on the team sheet."

Martin Skrtel, one imagines, could have said the exact same thing last summer. Yet instead of accepting he was surplus to requirements, the imposing Slovak proved his manager wrong and played his way into becoming Rodgers' first choice at the back.

This season, whether Agger likes it or not, there was simply nothing to choose from between himself and Sakho for second choice alongside Skrtel. It would be disappointing if, rather than fighting to prove his worth as Skrtel did, he instead shrugged and walked away.

Unfortunately for Liverpool fans who have grown as fond of Agger as he appears to be of them and the club, the player appears to be considering doing just that. That rather than proving he should start every week, if there's a chance he'll be third choice he might rather just leave.

"No, I can't," he insisted. "I will not be third choice, [but] I'm not thinking about my future. Now my focus is on the next two [international] matches and then I'm looking forward to a long vacation for five weeks. My body and mind both need time to relax."

Hopefully a bit of time on a beach somewhere will see Agger back for preseason and ready to prove he deserves to start. If that isn't the case, and though it would be a sad day, perhaps it would be best for all involved to move on.

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