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Sunday 11 December 2016

Stats show Simon Mignolet could cost Liverpool a Champions League spot

Alistair Tweedale

Published 23/04/2016 | 20:57

Liverpool's Simon Mignolet
Liverpool's Simon Mignolet

Simon Mignolet has never been the most reliable goalkeeper in the world, but his latest performance might just convince any remaining supporters he has that it is time for Liverpool to make an improvement in goal.

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An adept shot-stopper, he is often targeted for criticism given his lack of command of his area, particularly on crosses, and his propensity to make crucial errors could spell the end for his Liverpool career.

No player has made more individual errors leading to an opposition goal over the course of the current Premier League season than Mignolet.

That, in itself, is far from good enough for a player at a club like Liverpool, but it gets worse.

Those four errors have come against West Brom, Sunderland, Norwich and, after his latest error this weekend, Newcastle.

That is three of the Premier League's current bottom four, as well as the side in 15th place. And crucially, Liverpool have drawn all four of those matches, dropping eight points.

Of course it is reductive to place all the blame for those dropped points on the Belgian. There are other factors at play in each case, not least the defending, positioning and decision-making of those in front of him, but if you write off his errors this season, Liverpool might well have been challenging Arsenal and Manchester City for fourth place. They are eight points off fourth as things stand.

His tame attempt at coming to claim Vurnon Anita's cross at Anfield on Saturday afternoon saw him beaten to the ball by the head of Papiss Demba Cisse early in the second half, and with it, the momentum swung away from his side.

Perhaps Alberto Moreno should have done more to stop the cross. Perhaps his central defenders should have cleared the way for him to get to the ball.

But once Mignolet makes the decision to leave his goal line and take control of the situation, he simply has to deal with the cross. Newcastle went on to equalise and earn a point after Liverpool had led by two goals.

Only four months ago, Liverpool handed Mignolet a new five-year contract, and the keeper was given the backing of his manager Jurgen Klopp.

“It is a good moment to talk about the goalkeepers at Liverpool. I am absolutely satisfied with our goalkeeping situation," the German insisted.

"I am sorry to kill your stories about German goalkeepers and goalkeepers from Stoke. Our goalkeeping situation is a comfortable one and I hope it stays like this."

After Mignolet's latest clanger, Klopp might now be ready to change his mind.

Independent News Service

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