Daniel Agger vows to stay at Liverpool
Daniel Agger insists he wants to stay at Liverpool and help them fight for a return to the Champions League after returning from a frustrating spell out of the side.
The centre-back had admitted to going through a "difficult" time after injury led to him losing his place.
But he was recalled to the starting line-up for the first time since September as Liverpool beat Fulham 4-0 in the Premier League on Saturday.
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The club’s vice-captain -- who is under contract until 2016 -- feels he "belongs" in the team, and insists he will remain at Anfield as he retains the confidence of manager Brendan Rodgers.
Asked about his future, Agger told the Guardian: "I know I’m here and as long as I'm doing everything to be in that team and I feel I'm good enough and the manager can use me, then I'll be here.
"I've trained hard these last few weeks and I've trained a lot, so physically I'm probably better now than I was before. When you haven't played for a while, you need to get the timing right and you need to get your confidence right on the pitch and that takes some time, but I think we did OK against Fulham. We kept a clean sheet which is always good as a defender."
Victory over Fulham lifted Liverpool -- the early-season leaders -- back up to second in the Premier League, two points behind Arsenal at the top.
Under Rodgers, the club are aiming to regain a place in the Champions League, which they last qualified for in 2009.
Agger said: "There's a long way to go but all the guys here want to play Champions League again. I feel we're looking more solid this season and we've had a few seasons now without Champions League football.
"When you play in that tournament, it's where you want to be because that's where all the best players and all the best teams are. We definitely want to be there.
"You can see that desire on the pitch. It wasn’t just a good performance against Fulham, scoring four goals and keeping a clean sheet. We were running a lot. We were working for each other and if you want to finish in the top four in the Premier League, that’s important. That’s more important than maybe the quality.”
Agger is glad to be back in action after a tricky two months, which began when he tore an abdominal muscle while trying to prevent a dumbbell falling on his foot during a gymnasium training session the day before Liverpool’s 2-2 Premier League draw at Swansea on Sept. 16.
The 28-year-old missed that game, but started the 1-0 defeat at home to Southampton five days later when he was not fully fit and aggravated the injury.
When he recovered, he was unable to regain his place as Rodgers had switched to a three-man central defence made up of Kolo Toure, Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho.
It was only following defeat at Arsenal on Nov. 2 that Rodgers reverted to a flat back four and recalled Agger.
The Denmark international, a six million pound signing from Brondby in 2006, said: "It’s been difficult. It’s hard to describe and I want to play every time in every single game. So when you’re not playing, it’s difficult.
"But, when that is said, I just have to work even harder every single day in training, not complain and just do everything that little bit extra. I feel I belong there. I feel I’m more than capable of being in the team, but it’s the manager’s decision.
"Sometimes that’s difficult to change in training. You need to grab the chance when it’s there and that’s what football is about, taking your chances.There has always been competition for places at this club and it should always be intense. That’s a good thing because we want to win something.
"It was a stupid injury. I was in the gym. What can I say? I should have started against Swansea when I got the tear in my abdominal and then when I started the week after I should not have done that because of the tear and where it was. It was just too much.
"That never helped me, but I’m not the type of player who needs an explanation, I just carry on with my thing and try to do everything I can do to get back in the team. It’s been a bit longer than I hoped for, but when you get the chance, you need to do everything you can to keep your place."