Daniel Agger insists Liverpool have improved despite worse league position than 12 months ago

Defender scores winner against Southampton at weekend

Liverpool defender Daniel Agger insists the team are playing better than 12 months ago even if the statistics do not back up his assertion.

After 15 matches of the season Brendan Rodgers' side are 11th on 19 points, 17 behind leaders Manchester United and seven adrift of Champions League qualification having won only four games and drawn seven.

A year ago, under Kenny Dalglish, the team were sixth, 12 points off the top and just three behind fourth place with seven victories and five draws.

There is more of a similarity between the two regimes in relation to their failure to convert chances despite dominating games but Agger thinks they are better now than then.

"The last couple of games we've played really well," said the Denmark captain.

"I think the Tottenham game (a 2-1 defeat last Wednesday) was one of the best games I've played in for a long time - we played them off the pitch.

"Confidence is a big thing here and I think we have it. We are brave on the ball, want to go forward and we are not just playing around and I think that is the difference.

"I think we are creating more chances than last season. I don't see the statistics but the feeling on the pitch is we are creating bigger chances.

"It is difficult to compare two seasons but it is feeling better now."

The vital statistics for Rodgers' new way of working since taking over from Dalglish in June may not have improved but they are going from strength to strength individually for Agger.

Previously seen as injury-prone the 27-year-old is currently enjoying his longest run of Barclays Premier League matches in nearly seven years at Anfield, having made a 13th consecutive appearance against Southampton at the weekend.

He would undoubtedly have started every league match had he not been sent off in the season-opener at West Brom and has played 1,210 minutes so far having only been substitute twice.

Agger puts his success down to a change in the way he looks after himself both before and after matches.

"I always enjoy playing football. It is being on the pitch not outside and the last year or so it has been good for me," said the centre-back.

"You learn all the time when you are playing football and I am doing some different things than I did a few years ago.

"I am trying to look after myself better and it is helping.

"It is just things like the way you train, work in the gym, how you recover - and I think that is the most important thing.

"It is also helping with the team around us, the physios and the manager giving us time to recover because that is always difficult in this league.

"When you are playing so many games it is hard to recover. You need to use the time well and the manager is really good at that."

Agger scored his first goal of the season to clinch the three points against Southampton and he knows he and his team-mates are going to have to contribute more.

Leading scorer Luis Suarez, who has 10 Premier League goals, is suspended for the weekend trip to West Ham and without another fit recognised senior striker Rodgers will have to find another way of maximising their chances.

"Everyone knows Luis is a quality player and if you lose one of those it is a big miss," said Agger.

"Hopefully another player will step up because if you want to move up the table not just one player can get goals.

"It was nice to get on the scoresheet - it is about time - and of course I want to contribute more."

PA

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