Daniel Agger fit to face Man City
LIVERPOOL -- Daniel Agger is ready to return to Liverpool’s defence as they bid to strengthen their Premier League title push against Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday.
Agger missed last weekend’s 2-1 win at West Ham after suffering a minor knee injury in training, but manager Brendan Rodgers has declared the Denmark centre-back fit to play as the Reds seek a 10th successive league victory.
It means that left-back Jose Enrique, who has been out since November after undergoing knee surgery and is not expected to play again this season, is their only absentee.
Rodgers said: “Daniel Agger is back in the squad. Only Jose Enrique is out. We have 20 players fit and ready to go.”
If Agger regains his starting spot from Mamadou Sakho, he is likely to face City striker Sergio Aguero, who has made only three appearances since the end of January because of hamstring problems but has been declared fit for the match.
Before his injury troubles, the Argentina international had scored 26 goals in 25 appearances for Manuel Pellegrini’s side this season, but Rodgers says he will be glad to see him out there.
“Yes, absolutely,” he said. “It will obviously be difficult for him because he hasn’t played many games at all. I think players at this stage of the season, including him, will be starting to think about the World Cup. There’s the concern about getting another injury or blow that sets him back.
“If he’s fit then it’s great for the supporters. He’s a fantastic player and shows great humility off the pitch.”
Liverpool’s boss had the chance to join Manchester City’s coaching staff in early 2010, shortly after Roberto Mancini had taken charge at the club.
Rodgers was out of work at the time, having been sacked as manager of Reading at the end of 2009, but decided against joining City, and instead took over as boss of Swansea the following summer.
He moved to Liverpool two years later, and asked if he felt it was his destiny to end up at Anfield, Rodgers said: “Probably. I certainly knew I was in a good place at Swansea, and I was in no rush to leave there.
“It would have taken something unique to get me out of Swansea, because I felt I’d made a mistake earlier on in my career by moving too early [when leaving Watford for Reading in the summer of 2009], and I certainly wasn’t going to do it again.
“It had to be a special opportunity, and it was going to have to be somewhere with a vision and a strategy that was going to align with how I could work.
“I had the opportunity to go to a number of clubs during my time at Swansea, but I felt comfortable there.
“When the opportunity arose to come to one of the great institutions in world football, I knew it was something that might only come once in a lifetime. But what had to match was the vision of the owners, and they played a huge part in me coming here.
“They had a vision of the strategy and the leadership they wanted, and it was my job to come in and put those processes together.
“I’m very humbled and privileged to be the manager of Liverpool. Being here gives me a great feeling of pride every day.
“We’re playing Manchester City, who are a fantastic club in themselves, with a rich history, and a great recent history, but both clubs work on different models. We’re on different roads in terms of how we want to achieve success, and I’m very fortunate to be at a club who support my ideas as to how we can play football and develop the club as a whole.”