WATCH it. It was a thing of beauty. Eight years ago last week, a young Liverpool centre-back strode forward from the centre circle. Taking a couple of touches, the pitch opened out in front of him. The opposition stood off, beckoning him forwards. There was nothing else to be done – have a hit son.
With a savage swish of his left boot, the ball swerved serenely towards the top left-hand corner. It couldn’t have gone further into the corner. The net bulged. The keeper motionless. The young centre-back peeled away, arms aloft. Nonchalant.
After a stop-start first six months this was some way to announce yourself as the long-term successor to Sami Hyypia. Such a shame then, that Daniel Agger’s Anfield career ended as it did: a return from whence he came, to little fanfare, without a richly deserved farewell send-off.
To talk of Agger’s eight-and-a-half year stay at Anfield is to enter a world of unfulfilment. Here was a defender with unflappable elegance and muscular build; surely an unbeatable combination in a centre-back? But to go with these attributes, a body that was so susceptible to injury that it restricted him to 232 appearances (as @BassTunedToRed tweeted over the weekend, only 51% of Liverpool’s games since his debut in February 2006).