Dave Davis discusses Simon Mignolet’s pleasing form, the cause of his purple streak and consequences of having two ‘keepers battling it out.
When a player has suffered from such a high level of criticism, the easiest thing to do is continue the trend. Not good enough. We need a new player and other comments are standard mutterings from disgruntled fans. One player who can hold his head high right now and maybe starting to slowly turn opinion is Simon Mignolet.
It’s been a tough time at Anfield for the Belgian ‘keeper since his £9 million move from Sunderland. After a penalty save on his debut against Stoke, the 28-year-old has been lambasted by Reds for a number of high profile mistakes throughout his Liverpool career. Due to a lack of confidence in Liverpool’s number 22, the first thing Kopites were looking for in the summer was Jürgen Klopp to purchase a new ‘keeper.
Loris Karius has experienced a similarly difficult start to his Anfield career, despite Klopp initially confirming he would be Liverpool’s number one. The German has looked decidedly shaky at times and is more recognised for the spat between Gary Neville and Jürgen Klopp than any positive contribution. The 23-year-old’s struggles have given Mignolet a potentially unexpected chance to claim back his starting spot.
The former Sunderland man has done all the right things, though. He’s kept his head down, not grumbled and all the sound bites he’s provided have been spot on. ‘The goalkeeper position is not an easy one,”
“The goalkeeper position is not an easy one,” Mignolet said. “No individual is more important than the club and the only important thing is the club. You have to be mentally strong to deal with it. In football, things can change very quickly, with an injury or illness. You have to stay professional, keep your head down and work hard on and off the pitch.”
The most important thing which seems to be going unnoticed is the players form on the pitch. Mignolet was superb at Old Trafford, with a number of excellent stops and a stronger presence in his own box, often claiming high balls or punching them away. He had a real case to be named as Liverpool’s man of the match.
The question that fans should really be asking themselves, though, is when can you remember Mignolet last putting a foot wrong? The defence has looked solid for the majority of the time since his return and there’s a calmness there that wasn’t apparent with Karius. You wouldn’t be in a popular crowd, but in the world if Twitter some have started to rightly praise the former Saint-Truiden stopper.
There’s a long way to go before Mignolet is labelled a top goalkeeper and the standards at Anfield have been incredibly high over the years. At the same time, no-one should be writing off Karius at such a young age either and there’s no guarantee a clanger from either isn’t around the corner. However, Liverpool’s no.22 hasn’t put a foot wrong and continues to make great saves for us. It’s amazing what a bit of competition can do.