When it comes to Simon Mignolet there seems to be an undivided view that he doesn’t have the quality to be Liverpool’s number 1. His continued habit of conceding sloppy goals has cost Liverpool many points this season and has lead to many fans and reputable figures in football calling for a new goalkeeper to be signed in the summer.
Bearing in mind how poor Mignolet can be it would be only fair to mention just good he can be at the same time. For instance in the Capital One Cup final he was hugely at fault for Fernandinho’s opener. His decision to try and block the shot with his hands meant that he wasn’t quick enough to get down whereas he would have been better served to block the shot with his legs.
On the the other hand the Belgian shot-stopper made some truly impressive saves to thwart Sergio Agüero on a number of occasions. If it hadn’t been for his heroics Liverpool would have lost by a large margin in normal time. Although, there is an argument that City wouldn’t have gone ahead had it not been for his blunder. But it doesn’t do well to deal in hypotheticals.
Since Jürgen Klopp began his project at Liverpool he has made his priority shoring up a very leaky defence that under Brendan Rodgers shipped 1.2 goals every game on average. While that doesn’t seem like much it doesn’t reflect the games where Liverpool kept clean-sheets. During the 2013/14 season games were regularly won 4-2, 5-3 or 4-3 with an attitude that was framed more at outscoring the opposition than preventing them from scoring at all.
While it has been truly admirable that Klopp has stuck by his first choice goalkeeper mistake after mistake there has to be a time where he calls him out or at least gives Danny Ward a chance.
While many of Mignolet’s performances are very questionable it has been the case over the course of this season that frustrated fans have made it their instinct to heap blame on the Belgian when things go wrong even when it is obviously another player’s fault.
Klopp needs to make it his top priority in the summer transfer window to sign a world-class goalkeeper. That may be a tall order but there are goalkeepers who with game time could develop into world beaters. Marc-André ter Stegen from Barcelona is an obvious choice not least because he’s German but also because he has the ability to play confidently from the back which Mignolet has always struggled with.
There were rumours circulating a few months back with links between Liverpool and Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland. The Englishman has been in fine form for the Potters with his superb reactions saving them countless times. He too would be a great choice but given Liverpool’s ambition under Klopp ter Stegen would be preferable.
The crux of the matter is that Simon Mignolet isn’t the answer to Liverpool’s defensive problems and that if Liverpool really want to qualify for the Champions League next season , if they don’t this time around, or actually make headway in the competition the Belgian needs to be cut loose.