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Monday, August 20, 2012
Agger to contest red card

David Instone

Daniel Agger plans to contest his Hawthorns red card and try to ensure he's available when Liverpool aim for redemption following their worst opening-day result for three-quarters of a century.

Agger insists he was hard done by when sent off early in the second half of the 3-0 defeat by West Bromwich Albion. Asked whether he would contest referee Phil Dowd's reaction to a high-speed chase into the area with Shane Long, Agger said: "Of course. Referees are only human. They make mistakes as well.

"I was unlucky to be involved in one of the mistakes. It's frustrating but that's part of the game. I've seen it again and again on the television and there is no contact. But the referee has made the decision and we can't change it."

Liverpool's second Premier League game is at home to champions Manchester City on Sunday and, with fixtures against Manchester United and Arsenal also on the horizon, an early pressure point is looming in the Brendan Rodgers era.

The club's Europa League campaign, which continues away to Hearts on Thursday, is seen as a comparative irrelevance for now; certainly when viewed alongside this worst opening-day defeat since 1937.

"I know we will bounce back from this. I think we controlled the game before the sending-off," said Agger. "We had the momentum, we kept the ball well and we created chances. The red card changed the game.

"Everyone is frustrated. I don't think the result was right. It doesn't really make sense. But that's football and it happens.

"We have to continue. We showed a bit of the football we want to play. The manager said the same - that we controlled the game, created some chances and were a bit unlucky with some decisions.

"At Liverpool, the spotlight is always there. There is no reason to panic. I think the Premier League is getting better and better. There will always be tough games ahead."

While Agger reported no progress in his contract talks, Rodgers denied he had suffered a rude awakening at the hands of opponents his Swansea side had impressively beaten home and away last season.

Steve Gerrard's anonymous performance was one obvious worry and the manager says he isn't oblivious to the demands and expectations on him to deliver success.

"There are going to be other days of hurt," he said. "I know it's a big challenge here.

"Losing like this is difficult to take. We are bitterly disappointed but we will use it as a lever to move on. Managers want time but I understand the pressures of this job. I always said we still needed to sign one or two but I know what the limitations are with the budget."

Rodgers confirmed there would be changes to his line-up for the Hearts game.




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