Same old, same old.
After a neat finish by Danny Ings, Liverpool were well set for a first win in 34 days. With Daniel Sturridge returning to the first team, things really were finally looking rosy once more. However, for the umpteenth time, a defensive lapse gifted Norwich an equalizer. It’s almost not funny anymore.
With no Dejan Lovren around and Martin Skrtel looking half-decent, Simon Mignolet took it upon himself to provide a gift to the Canaries. What followed Robbie Brady’s cross from the corner as it approached the six-yard box had an air of inevitability about it as the Belgian weakly punched the ball towards Russell Martin ahead of him. The Canaries skipper gleefully chipped the ball over the retreating Liverpool goalkeeper resulting in another two points lost for the Reds.
One step forward, two steps backwards.
Undoubtedly, the goalkeeper position isn’t Liverpool’s sole squad weakness, but surely it’s one of their main ones. Virtually every cross into the Liverpool box results in a flapping Belgian trying to unsuccessfully catch the ball.
Watching Milner’s corners ending up safely into John Ruddy’s hands in the second half was a depressing sight for Liverpool fans knowing that a goalkeeper who has just spent a season in the Championship offered so much more reassurance to his defense than Mignolet.
If the Anfield side want to be taken seriously as top four contenders, then something needs to change between the posts. I dare say that Mignolet is an excellent shot-stopper, but when it comes to dealing with crosses and organizing defenses, he is well below par.
During the summer Brendan Rodgers changed his coaching staff without admitting any fault for a sub-standard season. What’s a greatest source of frustration is that he left just one winger, Jordon Ibe, at his disposal, despite persisting with a 4-3-3 formation. These are critical reasons for the current malaise, but keeping faith in Mignolet may be the most serious error.
Chelsea bought Asmir Begovic to act as back-up to Thibaut Courtois, Arsenal brought in Petr Cech to join an already excellent David Ospina, Manchester United now have Sergio Romero as back-up to David de Gea, Tottenham Hotspur enjoy the services of the magnificent Hugo Lloris and a more than able Michel Vorm, and Manchester City can boast England’s No. 1 Joe Hart and the reliable Willy Caballero. Even Southampton have Dutch international Maarten Stekelenburg, who has represented his country 54 times, who is acting as back-up to Fraser Forster.
Liverpool have Mignolet and Adam Bogdan. Top four material?
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