Tuesday 20 March 2018

Simon Mignolet breaks his silence on being benched for Liverpool

Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet
Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet expects to return to Jurgen Klopp’s starting line-up for the eagerly-anticipated game against Manchester United on Monday night.

Mignolet has broken his silence on his omission from the Reds line-up, after he was replaced by summer signing Loris Karius and relegated to bench warming duties by Klopp.

Yet after Karius  turned in some unconvincing displays between the posts for Liverpool, Mignolet hopes he will get his chance to return against United at Anfield.

“I didn’t play the last two weeks and I don’t want it to be any longer,” Mignolet told reporters in Belgium. “I look at it positively. I hope to play against United. I still feel confident because of my good league start. Against Arsenal, Tottenham and Leicester I have been important for the team by making some good saves.

“I have the advantage that the game against United is only Monday so I can have a full preparation.

“I don’t know what the coach will decide. I can just prepare myself 100%. Whether I play or not, nothing will change my match preparation. It is not in my character to not give 100%.

“Every time you sit on the bench it hurts. I’m also a lot more nervous on the bench than on the pitch, but the intention is to play again as soon as possible.

“The important thing is that I try to handle to situation the best I can. I think my response has been positive. It was also appreciated by the supporters.”

Mignolet has found a supporter in Liverpool and Ireland great John Aldridge, who believes Karius will be identified as a weak spot by United boss Jose Mourinho if he plays on Monday.

“The first concern for me right now is the choice of keeper and, despite all the criticism that has gone Simon Mignolet’s way in the last couple of years, he looks a better bet than this new boy Loris Karius,” said Aldridge.

“Klopp has clearly seen something in this keeper that he likes, but Karius looks nervous defending crosses to me. That is a real weakness Liverpool’s opponents will try to exploit.

“I bet Jose Mourinho was watching that game at Swansea and liking what he saw from Karius, with his Manchester United side likely to try and exploit his vulnerabilities when they come to Anfield.”

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