Why Liverpool Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet Is Easily Forgiven for Man City Error

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Why Liverpool Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet Is Easily Forgiven for Man City Error
Jan Kruger/Getty Images

There was quite rightly no criticism from Brendan Rodgers for goalkeeper Simon Mignolet after Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat Thursday at Manchester City.

The Belgian international failed to get a strong hand to Alvaro Negredo’s poked shot from the edge of the area on the stroke of half time, tipping the ball back into the goal for what was ultimately the game’s winner.

It prompted a wave of criticism on the world’s harshest playground, Twitter.

 

Goalkeeper Error Or Counterattacking Genius?

Jan Kruger/Getty Images

However, whilst it may be fair to say Mignolet committed too early and could have done better stopping the shot, the 25-year-old cannot be blamed for the swift City counterattack that led to it.

After all, it was a fine move to take the ball from one end of the pitch to the other in just four perfect passes.

If blame has to be dished out, Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho should take their share too for being caught out of position, backpedaling and giving Negredo the time and space to shoot.

It was a more a superb example of the brilliant attacking football that City have shown at home this season than a goalkeeping error.

 

Independent Goalkeeper

Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Rodgers has been fairly quiet on Mignolet this season, choosing to neither heap pressure or praise on the summer signing from Sunderland

Mignolet is a man-management dream for Rodgers—professional and self sufficient—the ideal, younger replacement for Pepe Reina. 

The same can be said for Rodgers' backroom staff, too. Goalkeeping coach John Achterberg revealed insight into Mignolet's role in the team to Phil Reade of the club's official website back in October:

In terms of the goalkeeper playing out, he'll still look to play the ball into wide areas.

But in terms of when the opponents are on the attack, he needs to look at the shape of the team and see if he can help with tactical information that the three centre-halves and others need.

In terms of the centre-halves, he needs to help them to play with enough distance between each other. He also needs to ensure that, if the ball is on the right side, then the left-back needs to drop in to make up the numbers and make it four at the back.

The 'keeper needs to try and see if that balance is right and if the centre-halves are covering the right distance between each other. He needs to communicate with them to help us be solid in the defence.

  

Consistently Reliable

He has certainly helped Liverpool to win games this season with vital stops against Stoke, Aston Villa and Southampton in the early stages of the season, and more recently, West Ham and Cardiff City.

According to Squawka, Mignolet has five clean sheets in his 18 league appearances this season, concedes an average of just 1.17 goals per game, makes an average of 2.44 saves per game and has an average claim success rate of 97 percent.

With such consistent and powerful performances, it is only fair Mignolet escapes criticism when things don’t go perfectly. 

 

Positive Well-being

Mignolet's own positive and productive analysis, as per Carl Markham in the Daily Mail Online, of his handling of Negredo's goal was an example of his positive self-reflection.

It is one of those things that happens, unfortunately, when you are a goalkeeper. Any goal you concede is a disappointment.

I probably should have done better with it. I've been there in the past as a goalkeeper and you have to accept it and move forward to the next game.

As Liverpool prepare to face Chelsea Sunday, and then into 2014, Mignolet remains one of the most important elements in the team's growing success story.

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