Liverpool defender Daniel Agger has lauded Anfield legend Sami Hyypia as a major influence on his career.
Hyypia was brought to Liverpool for a paltry sum of just £2.5 million by Gerard Houllier in 1999 and subsequently emerged as one of the club's finest ever stalwarts. The former Willem II defender amassed 464 appearances and won ten trophies in ten years including the memorable Champions League victory in Istanbul in 2005.
Agger and Hyypia's respective Liverpool careers overlapped when the former moved from Brøndby IF to Anfield in January 2006. The duo spent three years together on Merseyside before Hyypia, perhaps prematurely, left Liverpool in May 2009.
Although Hyypia was in the twilight of his glittering career when Agger emerged at Liverpool, the Dane suggests the former Finland international had a huge impact on his career, both on and off the pitch.
The Liverpool defender believes Hyypia's professionalism and attitude are the two key lessons he passed onto Melwood's younger stars, and while eager to praise the towering Anfield hero's evident footballing abilities, Agger believes the 38-year-old had a unique personality as well.
"I only have positive things to say about Sami," The in-form Liverpool centre-half told LFC TV. "He's definitely one of the best players I've ever played with, not only on the pitch but off as well.
"He always helped the younger players, and at the same time, he was a really good footballer."
The Liverpool star continued: "He was such a character, such a great persona and a true professional. I probably learned the most from him in my career."
Whatever the Dane learnt off his illustrious former Anfield colleague appears to be working.
Liverpool currently boast the best defensive record in the Premier League and such is the form of Agger and his defensive partner Martin Skrtel, the duo have been keeping Anfield icon Jamie Carragher out of the side.
Although Agger suggests Hyypia has played a fundamental role in his development, Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish recently praised Carragher's professionalism in light of his recent yet perhaps unfamiliar hiatus from the first team. Dalglish believes Carragher has been the ideal role model for the aforementioned pair.
"I don't think they have ever looked a bad pair but the both of them are playing very well." Dalglish told Liverpool's official website recently. "They know how to play. Jamie being beside them when they came in at first has been a fantastic help to them, as he has been for a lot of people here.
"You can't under-play what Jamie has done for the two of them but they are more than capable of standing on their own two feet.
"The fact Carragher has not been playing tells you how well Daniel and Martin are playing." The Liverpool manager continued. "Carra also made a contribution to the best defensive record when he was fit. Since he has been injured the two lads have played fantastically well."