Simon Mignolet isn’t Liverpool quality
Liverpool is among the world's most prestigious football clubs. The Reds dominated the English and European game for long periods in past times. Despite not winning a trophy since 2012, they still boast that rich history.
Jurgen Klopp's side are striving to bring back the good times. Obstacles remain, though. An error-prone Simon Mignolet chosen as Liverpool’s first choice goalkeeper continues to baffle and frustrate fans.
Players can suffer a decline. We've witnessed it many times, a staggering dip in form which has seen big-name stars repeatedly make schoolboy errors. The players in question then become lacklustre. Simon Mignolet can be categorized as such. Once regarded as one of the best shot-stoppers to emerge from Belgium, he’s now constantly singled out for criticism by his manager.
Mignolet made the switch from Belgium's second division to the Premier League in 2010. He was a promising 22-year-old having recently been named Belgian goalkeeper of the Year. Sunderland was happy to part with £2 million for his services. After delivering impressive performances with the Black Cats for three years, Mignolet earned a move to one of the Premier League's biggest clubs. Sunderland made a profit on their investment, while Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool bankrolled £9 million to bring in a player who would provide stiff competition for Pepe Reina.
Before long, Reina was shipped out on loan and Mignolet was promoted to Liverpool's first choice goalkeeper. Things haven't gone smoothly since then, however. Now into his fifth season at Anfield, the Belgian has received nothing but criticism from fans and most recently, his manager.
In 2014-15, Mignolet was brilliant. He rarely made errors and finished the season among the Premier League's three best goalkeepers with 13 clean sheets. Only Joe Hart kept more shutouts (14). Since then, however, the Liverpool keeper has suffered a steady decline in form.
Mignolet conceded a combined 72 Premier League goals in the last two seasons. He has already let in 23 this campaign. Among them the howler that allowed Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka to score a long-range effort in the recent 3-3 draw at the Emirates.
It’s said that a goalkeeper is no better than his defence, but in Mignolet’s case, he has displayed a penchant for conceding cheap goals.
A goalkeeper playing for a top team such as Liverpool should be a solid barrier. Mignolet is not. It's left diehard supporters, who can no longer stomach their keeper's mistakes, making comments on social media such as: sell him for free!, Mignolet can’t save a Word document. There have been worse too.
Jurgen Klopp has two senior first-team goalkeepers in Loris Karius and Mignolet, yet both are error-prone and unfit to man Liverpool’s goal. The German manager, somewhat surprisingly, has made no attempt to sign a marquee number one in the three seasons he's been at Anfield. It's time to stop playing the blame game and be decisive, similar to how Pep Guardiola was with Joe Hart.
Simon Mignolet won't help to lead Liverpool back to its glory days. The five-time Champions League winners have the funds to attract some of the best goalkeepers in Europe.