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Thursday 14 December 2017

Agger demands end to slip-ups

Defender Daniel Agger believes it is unimaginable for Liverpool not to be in the Champions League -- but the players will only have themselves to blame if they fail to finish fourth this season.

The Reds are currently sixth in the Premier League, four points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

However, they have a chance to reduce that deficit at home to bottom side Portsmouth tonight.

"We can't slip up any more because it's getting to the end of the season and we know we need more points," said Danish international Agger.

"I can't imagine not being in the Champions League. That's the tournament we all want to be in.

"But it's our own fault where we are now and we have to get out of it.

"The fans have a right to expect Liverpool to be in the top four.

"A big club like Liverpool should be in there every year but, as we know, football doesn't always work like that.



Pressure

"The pressure of that shouldn't come into it. When you come to a club like this there will always be pressure to be successful.

"Maybe we'll have to start to imagine not being in the top four. But, for as long as we have a chance we have to keep believing.

"If you play at a football club like Liverpool you always need to take responsibility, no matter who you are. You do that on and off the pitch, but you must definitely do it in the games."

Agger admitted tonight is a must-win game if Liverpool are to retain hopes of a Champions League spot.

"The performance doesn't matter as much as getting the three points," said the centre-back.

"We need to get some victories quickly and move on to get ourselves up the table.

"Every week we say this is a big week. Last week people said it was a defining week as well. We need to focus on the next game first, not the games after that."

Striker Fernando Torres said at the weekend that it was not the lack of Champions League football which was likely to make him consider his future at the club but a failure to invest in top-quality players in the summer.

However, Agger, who admittedly would be in less demand than the Spanish international, says he is fully committed to the Merseysiders.

"I wouldn't walk away. I'd fight to put it right next year because I'm not a quitter," he added.

"I've been close to winning trophies, but I still don't have any.

"That's a big disappointment because that's the reason I came to Liverpool."

Torres may yet get his wish for new players if a £100m-plus offer for a 40pc stake in the club is successful from the global investment firm Rhone Group.

If co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett were to accept the offer it would dilute their shareholding to 30pc each but, crucially, would almost half the club's £237m debt.

It would also dramatically reduce the £30m a year interest payments to service the debt and would improve the club's appeal to lenders, which could, in turn, lead to cash being secured to finally begin work on the long-awaited new stadium in nearby Stanley Park.

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