Simon Mignolet Criticised by Steven Gerrard After David Luiz Goal vs. Liverpool

Chris LakerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2017

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 26:  Steven Gerrard of Liverpool celebrates with team-mate Simon Mignolet at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Sunderland at Anfield on March 26, 2014 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Steven Gerrard accused Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet of being in "no man's land" after the Belgian stopper let in a David Luiz free-kick during the 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Tuesday.

Luiz put the Blues ahead in the Premier League clash at Anfield with a quick set piece that took Mignolet by surprise when he wasn't looking.

Speaking on BT Sport (h/t Tom Farmery of Mail Online), Gerrard didn't pull his punches over Mignolet, who didn't realise the whistle had been blown by referee Mark Clattenburg.

"Surely after the game he is going to hold his hands up for this," the former Liverpool captain said. "He's not read it, and he's trying to push his back line 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."

Dave Thompson/Associated Press

Mignolet redeemed himself somewhat with a save on a Diego Costa penalty kick in the second half, but Liverpool legend Gerrard, who began his new role as a youth coach at the club on Wednesday, had more to say.

"He's concentrating on something he shouldn't really be concentrating and is trying to lift the line when he should be leaving that for the lads to do themselves and focus on the free-kick taker," Gerrard said. "Simon's at fault for this goal."

Twitter users were quick to point out Mignolet's error:

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Mignolet's mishap will likely lead to fans questioning why he is in the team, and the goalkeeping position is arguably the greatest area of concern for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

Klopp began the season with Mignolet as his first choice before dropping him for new signing Loris Karius in October. However, Karius suffered some high-profile errors himself, notably fumbling a free-kick against West Ham United and gifting Bournemouth a 4-3 injury-time winner in December. 

Those mistakes led to the German boss choosing to reinstate Mignolet.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25:  Loris Karius, goalkeeper of Liverpool looks on during the EFL Cup Semi-Final Second Leg match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield on January 25, 2017 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Such uncertainty in the No. 1 position has arguably been a key factor in Liverpool's shakiness in defensive situations this season.

Indeed, it has been a boost to opposing teams, and Klopp was particularly irked by Bournemouth's admission that they targeted Karius as the Reds' weak link when the two sides met in December, per Andy Hunter of the Guardian.

Karius' displays and a subsequent interview where he defended himself also drew a response from a former Anfield legend, Jamie Carragher, who said, "Just shut up and do your job," per Sky TV (h/t David Prentice of the Liverpool Echo).

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 13:  Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool looks on as Simon Mignolet of Liverpool addresses the media during a press conference ahead of the UEFA Europa League quarter final between Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund at Melwood Train
Dave Thompson/Getty Images

For all their attacking flair, Liverpool have been found wanting on several occasions at the back, perhaps most notably in their recent 3-2 Premier League defeat to Swansea City.

A leaky back line cost the Reds the title in the 2013-14 season under Brendan Rodgers. And while there have been signs of progress, such as the emerging centre-back understanding between Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren, it's likely to be an issue that costs Klopp's men the chance to catch Chelsea.

For now, Klopp needs to show full faith in one of his goalkeepers.

Should he decide to make another change and bring Karius back off the substitutes' bench to replace Mignolet, it will arguably be a key move and will determine truly whether Liverpool can cut the gap and kick-start their title challenge.

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