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Simon Mignolet looks set to keep his place in the Liverpool first team for the foreseeable future and perhaps even land a new long-term deal at Anfield despite another mistake costing his side a goal in last Sunday’s 2-2 draw against West Brom.
His flapped attempt to deal with a cross in the game was the eighth time a mistake by the Belgian keeper has directly led to a Premier League goal since he joined Liverpool in the summer of 2013. That is more than any other goalkeeper in the division over the same period and many Liverpool fans are questioning the sense in keeping faith with the former Sunderland keeper.
A favorite of Rodgers’
He was clearly a favourite of Brendan Rodgers who described him as one of the ‘top goalkeepers in the Premier League’ when he arrived for £9million but many assumed that a change in management and the arrival of Jurgen Klopp would signal the end of Mignolet’s troubled stint as Liverpool number one.
However the opposite appears to be true and although Klopp’s willingness to back his current players rather than immediately splash the cash should be admired, a little look back at Mignolet’s time at Anfield makes you question that decision in this case.
Bright start, but not for long
Although he made a bright start to his career at Liverpool, many were quick to question his ability to command the penalty area and deal with crosses, which is an important facet of the English game.
Things came to a head quickly in the first half of his second season at the club when a catalogue of errors led to him being dropped in December last year in favour of Brad Jones for what Rodgers described as ‘an indefinite period’. However an injury to the Australian just 12 days later would grant Mignolet a reprieve and a run of several consecutive clean sheets helped cement his place back in the side.
There are many at Anfield who have never taken to the keeper though and the belief that he is somebody that is always liable to drop a howler hasn’t completely gone away. His latest mistake almost summed up why he has his critics in just a few seconds. A combination of poor handling and an inability to impose himself when dealing with an incoming cross led to the error and presented West Brom with a goal.
Unable to improve
While he may remain a good shot-stopper, his inability to learn from his mistakes or improve upon his weaknesses is a major concern. Klopp either needs to get in a goalkeeping coach who can genuinely help to improve his game or in the long-run he will have to dip into the transfer market and sign a more assured all-round keeper.
Written by Mark Sochon
Follow Mark on Twitter @tikitakagol
Check out his brilliant blog on all things La Liga, Tiki-Taka-Gol!
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