Do Liverpool Need A Replacement For Simon Mignolet?

IMG_0286” (CC BY 2.0) by otama

If the rumour mill is correct, Simon Mignolet is set to sign a new long-term contract at Liverpool.

This would seem to indicate that the Belgian goalkeeper is viewed as a permanent part of Jurgen Klopp’s plans. But fans have not been impressed by the news of a potential extension to the five-year, £60,000-a-week deal that Mignolet signed on arriving from Sunderland in 2013.

Mignolet, who cost Liverpool a fee of £9million, has been a point of debate ever since he first moved to Anfield. Indeed, it was assumed by many that the arrival of Klopp last October would mean a change in goalkeeper. Mignolet’s critics guessed Liverpool’s new boss would see faults in a shot-stopper who was inherited from predecessor Brendan Rodgers.

That has not been the case and Mignolet’s performance in the hugely frustrating 1-0 defeat to Manchester United has further irked the goalkeeper’s doubters.

SHOTS ON TARGET

It was Mignolet’s shanked effort at dealing with a back-pass which put Liverpool under pressure and led to the corner for United’s goal. When Wayne Rooney scored, Mignolet had also bizarrely dropped to his knees after Marouane Fellaini’s header had come back off the frame of the goal.

United’s goal at Anfield was the only shot on target that Mignolet faced in the entire match. But, to make things even worse, United also scored from the only three shots on target they managed against Mignolet in the 3-1 win at Old Trafford last September. Mignolet has faced just four shots on target against United this season and conceded four goals.

Ironically, before Sunday’s defeat by United, Rodgers, who dropped Mignolet for a trip to United in 2014, was on Sky Sports talking up his former player’s merits. Rodgers is, of course, ever the optimist. But it is getting to the point where it is impossible to agree about Mignolet.

Those goals conceded stats against United are not an anomaly. Mignolet’s kicking game, as witnessed against United, has never been up to scratch. Meanwhile, his errors, such as flapping at crosses, corners or set-pieces (see Olivier Giroud’s first goal in the 3-3 draw with Arsenal) have become too many to list over the past couple of years.

It also cannot be argued that playing behind a defence ravaged by injuries and changes in personnel is to blame. Mignolet is not facing a barrage of shots on target and performing a succession of saves. The shots he faces on target are more often than not finding the back of the net.

Taking into account that Arsenal game, Mignolet has conceded four times from the last six shots on target that he has faced. However, Mignolet’s form is in too much of a slump to be blamed solely on a short-term crisis of confidence. As Jamie Carragher said on Sky Sports before the most recent United game, Mignolet simply does not seem good enough.

TOP FOUR DREAMS

If Liverpool want to get back to winning ways, Stoke City’s Jack Butland or Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen are surely more realistic considerations than a new contract for Mignolet. The back-up options of the inexperienced Danny Ward or the less-than-convincing Adam Bogdan are also reason for concern.

Liverpool might have the League Cup (6/5 in the betting odds at the time of writing), the Europa League (11/1 in the UEFA competitions betting) and FA Cup (12/1 in the cup betting) as chances of silverware, but the top four (4/1 in the league odds) looks a long way off without a reliable goalkeeper.

The performance of United goalkeeper David De Gea at Anfield perhaps indicates just how important it is to find a conclusion to the Mignolet debate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *