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Football: Defender Agger all clear for comeback.

Byline: By IAN DOYLE

INJURY-JINXED Daniel Agger has been given the go-ahead to resume his Liverpool career.

But the centre-back will be eased back into the first-team fray by Rafael Benitez after missing the last five months with a broken metatarsal.

Agger was told he can make his long-awaited comeback after visiting a specialist in Denmark yesterday.

The 23-year-old has been training in a pair of specially-modified boots and was close to making a return last month before suffering a setback.

Now his injury nightmare appears to finally be at an end, although Agger is unlikely to be thrown straight into the team despite Liverpool facing a centre-back crisis tomorrow.

With Jamie Carragher serving a one-match suspension, Martin Skrtel almost certainly still out and Jack Hobbs on loan at Scunthorpe United, Sami Hyypia is the only other senior centre-back available to Benitez for the Premier League visit of Middlesbrough.

Skrtel has missed the last two games after picking up a calf injury during training last week, and isn't expected to regain full fitness in time for tomorrow's game.

"The treatment has been going well," said Skrtel yesterday. "It has got better and better.

"The prognosis was that I should be back in up to 10 days and this is the ninth one."

Xabi Alonso will decide on his Anfield future at the end of the season.

The Spain midfielder became a regular in the Liverpool team on his arrival from Real Sociedad as one of Benitez's first signings in 2004.

However, this season Alonso has suffered from a metatarsal injury and a loss of form, and has seen both Javier Mascherano and Lucas Leiva move ahead of him in the pecking order.

Meanwhile, Inter striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has dismissed Liverpool's chances of reaching the Champions League quarter finals.

"I believe that Inter did well for 85 minutes," he said.

"Then Cordoba got hurt, and this was a serious blow because Ivan had done well until then. But not only him, we all fought, all 10 gave the maximum.

"Then in the last five minutes we conceded two goals and it was like a knife through the heart after all the work we had done up until that point."

Ibrahimovic added: "We must score at least two goals. There are two things we have to do. The first is to attack because our game is made to attack.

"The second is to play eleven against eleven because on Tuesday evening that was not the case.

"Then you will see who is stronger between Inter and Liverpool. And I still believe that we are stronger."

Former Liverpool ace Besian Idrizaj has been released from hospital after collapsing while playing for new club FC Wacker Innsbruck on Saturday.


Defender Daniel Agger
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 22, 2008
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