As Liverpool prepare to do battle to hold on to a fourth-place spot on the table and fight for a Champions League spot in the second half of the season, it's safe to say the team will have to be all hands on deck.
That means holding on to to key players in January. While Luis Suarez is surely isn't going anywhere—we'll revisit his status over the summer, more than likely, as big clubs come calling once again—another key player was recently linked to Napoli.
Luckily for Liverpool fans, defender Daniel Agger made it known in no uncertain terms that he plans on staying at Anfield rather than heading off to Italy when speaking with David Maddock of the Mirror:
I can’t do anything about the rumours (of a move to Napoli), but there is no point spending any time on them.
I’m not thinking about moving, not at all. There is no reason to believe the rumours. I have been out of the team at times this season, but I have been unlucky.
That’s the way it is in football, when there is so much competition. Before one game, I suffered a stomach injury; and another I got ill the night before, and I would have played both times.
So at times you are a bit unlucky. But that’s what happens when you are injured and the team plays well—when the team is doing well it becomes difficult.
Agger has made just nine starts (and 11 overall appearances) for Liverpool this season, as he has battled injuries, earning a very solid WhoScored.com average match rating of 7.0 in those contests.
Even if he was healthy, however, it remains to be seen if he would be a first-choice selection every game. Martin Skrtel has earned a 7.39 average match rating in 18 appearances, while Mamadou Sakho comes in at 7.29 in 12 appearances.
As Maddock notes, Agger is out for another month due to a calf injury after going down against Oldham in the FA Cup. If Skrtel and Sakho continue to combine in central defense at a high level, Agger could find himself as a third-choice option at the position.
Still, depth in defense is vital for any team and if Liverpool truly hope to make a push for a Premier League title or top-four finish, they'll need to hold on to all of their contributors this January—especially defensively.
While only Manchester City (57) have scored more goals than the Reds this year (46)—that's the Suarez factor—Arsenal (18), Chelsea (19) and Everton (19) have all been stingier than Liverpool (23) when it comes to goals against.
Not surprisingly, Arsenal and Chelsea are ahead of Liverpool on the table. In other words, a solid defense goes a long way.
So whether Agger comes back as a player in the team's rotation or earns back his status as an every-fixture starter—as a healthy Agger likely would—keeping him at Anfield is a pretty big deal for Liverpool. Napoli may come knocking, but it appears Agger isn't opening that door just yet.
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