Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was so excellent before Christmas that he made our World Soccer Talk Premier League Best XI as our starting goalkeeper. So excellent was Mignolet that Liverpool sat atop the table entering Boxing Day and was being touted as a potential challenger to the excellent Thibaut Courtois who had helped lead Atletico Madrid to a similar position in La Liga, as Belgium’s best keeper.
But beginning with a Boxing Day gaffe against Manchester City, things have quickly gone downhill for the Belgian keeper who was signed this past summer from Sunderland. Three days later in London, Mignolet had another howler against Chelsea when he failed to stop a rather meek effort from Samuel Eto’o. As a result, Liverpool went from top of the table to fifth in the matter of less than a week. In both matches the winning goal was scored for the opposition due to a Mignolet error.
January has not been much better for the Liverpool stopper, as mistakes against Hull and Aston Villa have contributed to a mixed month thus far for the Reds. Getting Mignolet back to top form is a priority for Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers:
“Confidence-wise, it is important for me to lift all the players. And for Simon, it is something I will reinforce with him.
“He is still an outstanding goalkeeper but when you make those mistakes they get highlighted more as a keeper. He will be disappointed with the second one because it is a basic cross into the box and he should deal with it.
“But he has come here because he’s an outstanding goalkeeper and, I repeat, you don’t lose your talent. Players will succeed if they have confidence and part of my job is to help deliver that confidence to them.”
Veteran defender Kolo Toure told the club’s official website the defense bears some blame as well for Mignolet’s poor form.
“All keepers have sticky patches, but he is a strong guy and he knows he has a big part to play in the season. It’s not only Simon, everyone needs to react. The back four could have done better with everything.”
Mignolet’s drop in form is the simple explanation why Liverpool has gone from top of the table to eight points behind leaders Arsenal in less than month. Still as we have seen time and again with top keepers, they come through a rough patch stronger than ever. I believe Mignolet is a top keeper in the English game and tip him to bounce back real soon.
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