One Reason Why Liverpool Slipped From First to Fourth in the Premier League

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.

For more Reds coverage, read the Liverpool team page for more news, analysis and opinion.

8 thoughts on “One Reason Why Liverpool Slipped From First to Fourth in the Premier League”

  1. Liverpool don’t have anyone to really compete with Mignolet. So he’s safe as their number one. Mignolet is good at blocking shots but is terrible at crosses and he never comes out for corners or free-kicks into the box.

    For a side that likes to move the ball from the back they have a keeper that is one of the worst at controlling the ball with his feet or distribution.

  2. Simon Mignolet has, quite unbelievably, cost LFC at least 7 points so far this season which as it stands puts LFC joint second. It was only right that BR came out and talked about boosting his confidence because he (Mignolet) has committed several howlers lately which looked to have gone under the radar. I am almost at the point of asking for Pepe back..!!!

    LFC desperately need to strengthen the squad and need at least 2 marquee signings during this windows if they are to realistically continue their challenged for CL (keep Suarez) and break into the party that is currently the top three.

    Lastly, it has not escaped my attention that defensively we’re kamikaze at best atm. Certain players are either not up to the task and or are just not performing at the level required to take us forward.
    Enrique and Sakho are sorely being missed, Agger is too fragile, Toure is not comfortable alongside a very one dimensional Skirtel who looks like he should be playing ruby of late; all of this is compounded by the fact that the keeper is out of sorts

    PS I don’t have the words to express the disappointment that is Aly Cissokho

    BR needs to buy, buy buy…lol

    1. Rodgers has bought a lot of players but very few have made the grade. Aspas, Borini, Assaisi, Illori, etc. Instead of buyin several players in the 5-10 million range in the hope that some will come good Liverpool should be buying fewer players but with quality even if they cost more. The problem I think is that FSG don’t want to pay a lot for one player. Also, one has to question Rodgers’ signings.

      One of Liverpool’s target, Salah, might now actually join Chelsea because, according to reports, Chelsea have met his valuation by Basel while Liverpool didn’t want to pay it. A few other players were lost out in the summer for the same reason, Liverpool not wanting to pay a few million more to get their targets.

      1. Jim, you’re absolutely right about BR’s signings, for every success thus far (SAS, Coutinho) there have been comparable failures in the likes of Borini (11m), Allen and Co. In BR’s defence what manager in the PL hasn’t had his fair share of duds; in that great list I add the likes of King Kenny, and Sir Alex (names such as Djemba and Bebe are easily forgotten!!)

        Rogers is an emerging manager and like any great student of the game will undoubtedly make mistakes along the way, the starting formation at Villa springs to mind!
        He will learn from that and improve on things. However, like Jim, It does concern me that FSG have not concluded the business of Salah, this is now turning into a saga that we may yet loose out on..!!! It maybe that FSG do not completely trust BR’s judgment with their money, It certainly does raise a few questions but by the same token what price will it cost LFC not to make it into the top 4 this season?

        In short LFC cannot afford, both on and off the field, not to make CL, we have progressed too far to not back BR’s now.

  3. Or maybe slipping from first to fourth happened because they played City and Chelsea away within the same week. Could Mignolet have played better? Sure. But every keeper is going to make mistakes throughout the season and to blame the drop in league position solely on him is ridiculous.

    1. Agreed in general. He may have lost points, but he certainly earned points for the team as well.

      What hurts is that in the real tough matches he let in a couple of really weak goals.

  4. Quiet frankly the only is reason is American owners. The two best supported teams on the planet Liverpool and Man Utd both lack squad depth in comparison to other teams because American owners under invest in their teams because they try and take a profit out of the clubs. They come with the American sports mentality where the owners earn the big bucks and not the players. Man Utd are the richest team in the world with the biggest sponsorship deals, but have a terrible squad because the Americans have leeches have used the profits to make themselves wealthy. If our American owners are not prepared to risk money by investing in players to make sure Liverpool finish in the top four then sell the team to European or Arab owners who put success before profit.

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