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Liverpool have had a torrid start to the new year. Jurgen Klopp’s men have played 10 times since the turn of the year and have won just one game so far, that came against League 2 side Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup round three replay. The Reds have faced three consecutive defeats at Anfield in recent weeks and after beginning the season with such promise, they are struggling to make it to the top four.
While not many players have stood out for Liverpool, one player who has been particularly poor is goalkeeper Simon Mignolet. The goalkeeper position is one of paramount importance and leaves the team badly exposed when things aren’t working out well for the shot-stopper at the back. They are the last line of defence and when they are shaky, the entire defence looks vulnerable.
As has been the case with Mignolet and Liverpool. The Belgian, over the years, has been under constant criticism for his displays and has cost Liverpool on many occasions with his faulty displays. Loris Karius was brought in, in the last summer to provide a solution, but the German too has looked suspect, leaving Mignolet as the No.1 choice at Anfield. But the former Sunderland goalkeeper has failed to deliver for his team whenever called upon.
Here we give you three reasons why Klopp should offload Mignolet in the summer transfer window and sign a better replacement:
Mignolet has been one of the most inconsistent goalkeepers in the Premier League this season. Having featured in the goal for Liverpool 14 times this season in the English top-flight, the 28-year old has just kept only three clean-sheets. Considering the keepers across the league with more than 10 appearances this term, only Jordan Pickford of Sunderland, Wayne Hennessey at Crystal Palace and Lukas Fabianski of Swansea City have kept fewer shutouts than Mignolet.
Only his teammate Karius has made fewer saves (14) than the Belgian (21) among goalkeepers to have played 10 or more times this term in the league. Mignolet averages a lowly 1.17 saves per every goal conceded this season and has been vulnerable and uninspiring in the goal for Liverpool, giving plenty of reasons for Klopp to replace him in the summer.
Mignolet is a good shot-stopper and possesses decent reflexes as well. But in the current day and time, much more is expected from a goalkeeper, chief among them being the ability to distribute well from the back and ability to make crunch decisions in time.
That is one area where the Belgian is found lacking time and time again. The way Liverpool play in their high-intensity pressing style, they need their goalkeeper to be able to play out from the back or even start attacks from deep by picking out teammates in advanced positions but Mignolet has shown his inability to do so repeatedly. His decision-making too has always been suspect. Mignolet always looks nervy when dealing with set-pieces or crosses, unsure whether to stay back or come out. He often dwells too much with the ball at his feet and has been put in a spot of bother at times by the opposition forwards.
These are basic things that are expected from a goalkeeper and Mignolet has failed on quite a few occasions, bringing into question his place in a team that has title aspirations.
Over the years, Mignolet has made plenty of high-profile errors in Liverpool colours and has on many occasions cost his team dearly.
Last season, in the club’s Europa League clash with Bordeaux, the Liverpool shot-stopper was penalized for holding on to the ball for a total of 22 seconds, with the Ligue 1 side awarded an indirect free-kick, from which Henri Saivet scored for them. It was one of the silliest things one will ever see, coming from an experienced goalkeeper.
A few weeks ago, he was caught napping by Chelsea’s David Luiz from a free-kick after Mignolet was still setting his defensive wall, even after the whistle had been blown by the referee. He made amends for it making a penalty save from Diego Costa, but three days later, the 28-year old made another blunder, gifting Hull City their opener after failing to deal with a shot.
These are just a few of the many occasions he has let his teammates, his team and the fans down and if Liverpool are going to mount a title campaign in the upcoming seasons, Mignolet needs to be replaced.
Note: The article was written prior to the Spurs’ game