Saturday 23 September 2017

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet explains how he was caught off guard by David Luiz's cracking free kick

Liverpool's German-born Cameroonian defender Joel Matip (L) reacts after Liverpool's Belgian goalkeeper Simon Mignolet (R) saved a penalty by Chelsea's Brazilian-born Spanish striker Diego Costa (unseen) during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on January 31, 2017.
Liverpool's German-born Cameroonian defender Joel Matip (L) reacts after Liverpool's Belgian goalkeeper Simon Mignolet (R) saved a penalty by Chelsea's Brazilian-born Spanish striker Diego Costa (unseen) during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on January 31, 2017.

Mark Critchley

Simon Mignolet has claimed that he did not hear the sound of the referee’s whistle before David Luiz’s spectacular free-kick put Chelsea ahead against Liverpool.

The Belgian goalkeeper did not appear to notice Luiz’s run-up to the set-piece and could do nothing to stop the swerving effort deflect in off the inside of his right-hand post.

Mignolet could be seen marshalling his defence rather than concentrating on the free-kick in the seconds after Mark Clattenburg, the match referee, blew his whistle.

"I didn't hear the whistle and then he [Luiz] hits it early,” Mignolet explained in a post-match interview with BT Sport.

“It is a difficult feeling because it was a good free-kick in the end but you want to give yourself a chance of saving it in the end and that didn't happen today.”

Steven Gerrard, the former Liverpool captain, criticised his old team-mate’s concentration and laid the blame for the goal at his door while analysing Luiz’s strike at half-time.

“Surely after the game he is going to hold his hands up for this,” Gerrard said. “He’s not read it and he’s trying to push his backline out when he should have his eye on the free-kick taker because the whistle clearly gets blown.

“Everyone can hear it and Simon's just in no man’s land basically,” he added.

However, Jürgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, defended his goalkeeper and instead chose to focus on the quality of Luiz’s strike.

“That was world class from David Luiz, we have to say that,” Klopp said. “Two seconds before he was on the side-lines next to me talking to Conte.

“You have to say we have to be prepared but he [Mignolet] was obviously surprised. Yes maybe if he was not surprised he could have saved it but even if he was prepared it would have been difficult to save it because it was really in the corner and right in the corner.”

A second-half header from Georginio Wijnaldum pulled Liverpool level and Mignolet then went some way to making amends for his part in Chelsea’s goal by saving a 76th minute Diego Costa penalty.

(© Independent News Service)

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