Having experienced the highest levels of UEFA Champions League soccer with Liverpool already in his career, there’s only one goal for vice-captain Daniel Agger with the current Reds squad.
The Denmark international, who joined the club in January 2006, found himself playing in the final of Europe’s elite competition in Athens less than 18 months later.
Liverpool has not featured in the Champions League since 2009, but the start made by Agger and co. to the current season has revitalized ambitions of a return.
After beating Fulham 4-0 at Anfield on Saturday, Brendan Rodgers‘ team is second in the Barclays Premier League standings, as the action pauses for an international break.
“There is still a long way to go but all the guys here want to play in the Champions League again,” the No. 5 commented. “The team is looking more solid this season. It’s been a few seasons now without Champions League football here. When you have played in it before, that’s where you want to be. That’s where all the best players, all the best teams are. We definitely want to be in the top four and you can see that hunger out on the pitch.
“There was not only a good performance against Fulham in terms of scoring four goals and keeping a clean sheet, but we were all running a lot and working for each other.
“If you want to finish in the top four of the Premier League, that’s so important — maybe even more important than the quality.
“Ever since I’ve been here the league has got stronger and stronger every season. It’s getting more and more tight. From the outside that probably makes it better to watch.
“With all the teams who are up there it would be a great achievement to finish in the top four.”
Agger made his first appearance in more than a month during last weekend’s victory over the Cottagers, as the manager reverted to a back four.
The 28-year-old’s first start in seven weeks followed a period of intense training, as the center-back attempted to show Rodgers his best form in sessions at Melwood.
“I knew I would be playing against Fulham a few days before the game from how things were in training,” he said. “It was good to be back as it’s been a difficult time for me. It’s difficult to describe really.
“I want to play every single game. When you are not playing, it’s difficult. I just tried to work even harder every single day in training. I didn’t complain — I just did everything with that little bit extra.
“I feel like I belong there. I feel like I am more than capable to be in the team but it’s the manager’s decision.
“Sometimes it’s difficult to change that in training. You have to grab the chance when it’s there. That’s what football is all about, to take your chances. I’m not the type of player who needs an explanation.
“I just carry on with my thing and try to do everything I can to get back in the team.
“I was out of the team for longer than I hoped for but when you get a chance you have to do everything you can to keep it.
“Physically, I am probably better now than when I played before.
“When you haven’t played for a while you need to get the timing right. That takes some time but we did okay against Fulham and kept a clean sheet, which is always good as a defender.”