Thursday 21 November 2019

Choosing between Top Four or FA Cup is like choosing between parents - Simon Mignolet

Liverpool's Simon Mignolet
Liverpool's Simon Mignolet

Carl Markham

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet insists choosing between an FA Cup victory and finishing in the top four would be like preferring one of his parents over the other.

With the Reds in semi-final action against Aston Villa on Sunday Brendan Rodgers' side could see the gap between themselves and fourth place - currently occupied by Manchester City - grow.

It has been suggested the cup competition can save their season, in-form playmaker Philippe Coutinho even suggested as much ahead of their quarter-final replay at Blackburn last week, but Mignolet does not see any reason why they should prioritise one over the other at the moment.

"The next game is the FA Cup semi-final so the focus is on that but you don't really choose between your mum and dad so we still have two things to play for and we will try to do that from now until the end of the season," said the Belgium international.

"We want to do both - let's hope we can do both. We have the FA Cup and league still to play for and we want to do well in every single game."

Mignolet has enjoyed a renaissance in his form which mirrored that of the team's results since returning to the starting line-up on Boxing Day after being dropped for a short spell.

He accepts his time out of the team gave him chance to make changes to his game, which involved being more dominant in his area and certainly more vocal with his team-mates.

"It is something we spoke about when I was out the team: to be more aggressive and be more dominant with defenders and be more commanding and demanding," he added.

"Last week I had family over and they asked me straight after the game if my voice had not gone because they do not normally hear me on the pitch.

"I have always been one who tries to give information to the defenders and for me to organise at set-pieces but it is maybe more the body language and the commanding voice to get the message over to the players which has changed a bit.

"It is something to do with my character as well which is a bit laid back so I had to make sure when I gave a signal it was commanding enough."

Mignolet is likely to be tested by Belgium team-mate Christian Benteke, who is enjoying his own return to form with eight goals in his last seven games.

"I've not spoken to Benteke this week but we spoke about it when we last met for internationals," said the goalkeeper.

"We still had Blackburn to play at that stage but he knew if we were to progress it would be me and him.

"We know Aston Villa have aerial ability with two strikers up front and so it is something we have to deal with on Sunday.

"He (Benteke) has been scoring a couple of goals lately, together with (Gabriel) Agbonlahor they have a lot of pace up front.

"But we have to look at ourselves to perform. Villa come second."

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