Callum Molyneaux addresses the dilemma that Simon Mignolet’s uncharacteristic form is presenting to Jürgen Klopp.
In Liverpool’s last two games against Stoke and West Brom, Simon Mignolet has made match winning saves, something not associated with him in the past. The question is now, can he perform week in, week out?
Throughout his career at Anfield, Mignolet has been under constant criticism, with some criticism being unjust.
That being said, however, in recent months his form has improved, and now it’s a time in the season where we need to rely on him, especially with the constant change in defence.
Since the game against Hull in which Liverpool lost 2-0, there has been a dramatic change in his form. He looks to have more presence in the box, which breathes confidence throughout the defence.
At the start of the season, Loris Karius was the number one at Anfield. He seemed like he was going to knock Mignolet off his perch, but nervy performances gave Mignolet a chance to regain the goalkeeping spot, and with recent performances, Karius is not even being mentioned now.
The question is now: do Liverpool need a new goalkeeper?
Rumours have been spreading that Liverpool wanted a goalkeeper and in particular Joe Hart. But Jürgen Klopp has come out and said there is no chance that we will be signing Hart. So does that mean that a goalkeeper is not the priority? Or does he have faith in Mignolet for the next couple of years?
If Mignolet keeps performing the way he has been over the next five games until the end of the season, then I believe he will be the number one goalkeeper next season, and I think he deserves the chance to as well. There are other areas in the squad that need improvement more than the goalkeeper department.
Danny Ward will return from Huddersfield Town once his loan expires, which will provide more competition for both Mignolet and Karius. However, if Huddersfield manage to gain promotion to the Premier League, then I would like to see Ward go back out on loan, to gain Premier League experience. I think that will only help Liverpool as he is highly rated at Anfield. I also expect Karius to improve and push Mignolet further, which hopefully means that Mignolet will improve more.
At the age of 29, Simon Mignolet is now heading towards the prime years of his career. Now is the time for him to become a top keeper in the Premier League, and become a consistent performer week in week out.
He needs to perform at a high level to be mentioned with the likes of Courtois and De Gea, instead of constant criticism from pundits and fellow fans. When being a keeper at a top club like Liverpool you may only need to make two or three saves a game, instead of a dozen like he would have at his previous club Sunderland.
Another reason I believe Mignolet should stay is because he is one of the most experienced players in the squad at the moment. He joined Liverpool in 2013 and has been number one since.
Liverpool at this moment needs experience in the squad, and losing Mignolet would be a loss. Personally, I would give him another season as the number one goalkeeper and see how he performs.