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Sep 16, 2010

Disappointed Agger out to impress

Liverpool defender Daniel Agger will be out to prove a point to manager Roy Hodgson with a good performance against Steaua Bucharest in the Europa League on Thursday.

• Preview: Liverpool v Steaua
• Torres targets Man Utd

Hodgson left Agger out of the starting line-up for Sunday's Premier League goalless draw at Birmingham. The Denmark international admits it was a decision which left him frustrated but he is determined to make the most of Hodgson's likely squad rotation for the midweek clash to push for a regular starting berth.

"Obviously I was not happy because I want to play but it is not my decision and I have to accept it,'' Agger said. "I just have to work hard and improve but I need to use the games I get to show the boss I am good enough to play there.''

In contrast to the behaviour of departed midfielder Javier Mascherano, Agger is much more restrained in his attitude to disappointment. Mascherano very publicly showed his frustration by opting out of the club's fixture at Manchester City when he heard about a bid from Barcelona. The Argentina captain subsequently got his wish but Agger said he would not do anything to jeopardise the harmony within the dressing room.

"I think it is fair enough to be disappointed and angry, you just don't have to show it,'' he said. "You can show it to yourself at home - you can kick things if you want - but when you are at the club you have to behave and accept things as they are.''

Agger is likely to get a run-out at centre-half having been pressed into service as an emergency left-back in some of the club's earlier games. But with deadline-day signing Paul Konchesky fit to play despite coming off against Birmingham and Hodgson looking to change things around, the 25-year-old will get a chance in his preferred position.

"I want to be in that team. That is the most important thing for me - whether he puts me as a goalie or a striker, it doesn't matter,'' said Agger. "I don't think I can offer the same at left-back as I can at centre-back, a club like Liverpool needs a different kind of player. But if the manager is of the opinion I can play there then I will do.''

Hodgson said he never saw Agger as anything other than a temporary stop-gap at left back and that he is now competing for a place in the centre of defence.

"There has never been any question that we don't know what his best position is,'' said the 62-year-old. "It is a question of getting your best players on the field and sometimes it is about getting players to play out of position in order to put the best team out. Now we have a specialist left-back we can forgo Daniel as a left-back and use him more as a centre-back. That was not the case at the beginning of the season when we didn't have anyone who I thought was more suitable than Daniel.''

Steaua coach Ilie Dumitrescu, returning to England as a coach after spells with Tottenham and West Ham as a player, insists Liverpool are not only favourites for Thursday night's game but to win Group K outright.

"I am very happy to be back in England as a coach and this is a very special match and a big challenge for me,'' said Dumitrescu, whose only appearance at Anfield as a player finished in a goalless draw. "Liverpool are favourites in this group, by far.''

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