eager to start again
Unlucky defender Daniel Agger believes he
has got to start his Liverpool career all over again after
almost 10 months of injury anguish.
The 23-year-old played his first senior game since last
September in Liverpool’s 1-0 friendly win at neighbours
Tranmere yesterday, as he battles to re-establish himself in
the Anfield club’s defence.
Agger cost £5.8m from Brondby in January 2006, and made a
massive impact at Liverpool, successfully ousting veteran
defender Sami Hyypia from the side to become Jamie
Carragher’s new defensive partner.
A serious metatarsal injury just a handful of games into
last season sidelined him – but the young Dane successfully
completed 75 minutes at Prenton Park in his comeback.
Liverpool fielded a side of youngsters and squad players in
the match, with Yossi Benayoun’s first-half strike enough
for a comfortable victory.
Agger will continue to work his way back to full match
fitness at Liverpool’s Swiss training camp over the next
fortnight with games against Lucerne, Wisla Krakow and
Hertha Berlin in seven days.
He said: “I am delighted to be back, this has been the most
frustrating time of my career, I have just had to look
forward, concentrate, and work hard to get myself back to
“This season ahead is now all-important to me. I have missed
so much football over the past year that I feel I am almost
starting my career at Liverpool all over again.
“Now I am really focused on this season, I am ready. I have
been working hard right through the summer to get myself fit
for this level of football.
“It has been important to get myself ready so I can be
available for the first day of the season.”
with Agger return
By Toby Davis - Setanta Sports
Rafa Benitez hailed the return to fitness
of Daniel Agger after the defender played 75 minutes in
Liverpool’s first pre-season fixture against Tranmere.
Agger missed most of the last campaign after breaking a bone
in his foot and suffered several abandoned comebacks.
But the Denmark international looked sharp as a youthful
Liverpool line-up beat Tranmere 1-0 at Prenton Park.
Benitez told LFC TV: “Agger’s return is an important thing
for us. If he is available for the season, you can see he is
good on the ball and in defence and we can play more from
the back, so it was a very good addition for us.”
Liverpool also gave second-half run-outs to new signings
Diego Cavalieri and full back Philipp Degen.
And while keeper Cavalieri barely had a touch of the ball as
Liverpool strolled to victory, Benitez was impressed by
Degen’s forward running.
Benitez added: “Degen likes to go forward. It was the first
game and he showed he can also be a threat on the right
And the Liverpool boss was also delighted with Yossi
Benayoun’s stunning curling strike that ensured The Reds got
their pre-season off to a winning start.
Benayoun had been linked with a summer move away from
Anfield, but recently confirmed his intention to stay and
fight to establish himself in Benitez’s side.
“It was a fantastic goal from Yossi,” Benitez added. “It was
really good, maybe the best thing of the game; I think
everyone would have enjoyed that.”
target in Reds victory
Liverpool winger Yossi Benayoun was on
target as the Reds beat League One outfit Tranmere Rovers
1-0 in their first pre-season friendly.
Rafael Benitez ran the rule over Liverpool's supporting cast
while his mind was no doubt buzzing with ways of raising the
money to complete deals for Gareth Barry and Robbie Keane.
The Liverpool manager admits he has to wheel and deal to do
that - but he has raised almost £14million by moving on
Peter Crouch and Danny Guthrie this week.
Steve Finnan and Scott Carson were, significantly, absent
from Liverpool's 21-man squad for their friendly against
Tranmere at Prenton Park on Saturday with further moves
And Benitez is not understood to be over-concerned about
suggestions Arsenal are trying to snatch Barry at the last
All business is now likely to be conducted while Benitez's
squad are at a training camp in Switzerland for the next
fortnight, during which time they will also play four
It took a fine angled drive from Benayoun - who has made a
point of committing his future to Anfield - to clinch a
comfortable victory as Benitez's young brigade impressed.
Liverpool welcomed back defender Daniel Agger for his first
game in nine months following a metatarsal injury and had
Spanish teenager Danny Pacheco, the former Barcelona junior,
Youngsters Stephen Darby, Jack Hobbs, Damien Plessis,
goalkeeper David Martin and Emiliano Insua all had run-outs.
New signings Diego Cavalieri and Philipp Degen were
introduced at the break.
Tranmere had their new names - John Curtis, George
O'Callaghan, Bas Savage and Edrissa Sonko on show - but it
was the expected better passing, movement and control of the
Liverpool outfit that had them very much in control.
Martin had to save well from Chris Greenacre, but former
Wales international Danny Coyne kept the score down until
Benayoun's 20-yarder saw Liverpool ahead.
Jermaine Pennant, a target for Blackburn, hit the bar with
Andy Taylor's free-kick clipping the foot of Martin's
left-hand post before the break.
But this was little more than a gentle exercise in the sun
to entertain a 15,000 full house.
Liverpool made seven changes at the break, with Fabio
Aurelio, Martin Skrtel, Sami Hyypia and another couple of
youngsters - Jay Spearing and Ryan Flynn - coming on,
Academy product Martin Kelly also making a late appearance.
But the crowd had been waiting for Steven Gerrard, who
arrived just after the hour-mark along with Andriy Voronin.
Gerrard had a strolling involvement, containing himself for
sterner battles over the coming months.