Watching Daniel Agger fly into a challenge with Antonio Valencia and Glen Johnson two weeks ago was cringe-worthy theater--after giving away possession with an errant back-heel, the Danish defender quickly tried to recover, and with both Valencia and Johnson also closing quickly, a nasty collision wasn't exactly the most surprising outcome. Agger slid, Valencia came out untouched (just like he did in the penalty area, cool!), and Johnson was able to maintain his stride even after crashing into the now horizontal Agger.
Immediately it looked bad, with the defender laying on the turf long after the penalty was awarded, and eventually was taken off with a medial ligament injury reported by Brendan Rodgers as the likely outcome. Given the player's history, it wasn't histrionic to have a fair bit of concern about just how long the injury would keep him out; some guessed it'd be the rest of the season, others were hopeful that it'd be a few months at most.
So to hear that he was back in the running ahead of the trip to Norwich seemed far-fetched, and seeing his name in the eleven was almost unbelievable. As it turns out, even though both player and staff feared the worst, in the end the damage was only superficial, and he was available to anchor a Liverpool defense on Saturday that was very good early:
"When I tried to get up the muscle in my knee just didn't work. I felt really unsteady and the medical staff thought I had done my ligaments.I thought it was a bad one and that I would be out for months. But, thankfully, it was just a really hard knock to the knee.
"I only started training again last Friday but I was fine for the Norwich game. I felt really comfortable and I'm enjoying it. I think I deserved a bit of luck after the problems I've had in the past."
There's no question about Agger's value to Liverpool, particularly with both Pepe Reina and Martin Skrtel proving shaky at times over the club's opening six matches. Losing Martin Kelly later in the same match was a blow, but had Agger also been ruled out for an extended period of time, Liverpool's defense would have close to full-on crisis mode.
Hopefully this signals a change in Agger's fortunes, and that from here on out he's able to avoid the types of injuries that have seen him miss significant chunks of his Liverpool career.