How Loris Karius' injury can get Simon Mignolet a lifeline at Liverpool
In what will be Jurgen Klopp’s first full season Liverpool, the German manager had sought to rectify all the areas where his team had been lacking last season. The first of the many signings was that of Mainz goalkeeper Loris Karius, who was signed for £4.7 million as competition for the error-prone Simon Mignolet. However, a hand injury will keep the former out for between eight to ten weeks, thus missing out on the start of the season.in charge of
The former Mainz goalkeeper had decided to turn down a place in Germany’s Olympic team in order to establish himself as the number one keeper at Anfield. But during a pre-season friendly 1-0 loss to Chelsea in Pasadena, Liverpool’s new man suffered a fracture in his hand which could require surgery in the following days. Klopp had made Karius his number one choice keeper going into the new season where the Reds will travel to Arsenal on the opening weekend.
However, one goalkeeper’s misery could be another goalkeeper’s lifeline. Simon Mignolet had moved to Liverpool in 2013 for £9 million after having a successful three-year spell at Sunderland. The Belgian international was seen as the perfect replacement for the experienced Pepe Reina, who had left the club after making 394 appearances for the club. The former was hailed as one of the top goalkeepers in the Premier League by then manager Brendan Rodgers.
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But little did the Liverpool faithful know what stood in front of them. Mignolet started his Liverpool career on a high, making several saves from point-blank range, and famously denying a Jonathan Walters’ penalty in his debut game for the club. The goalkeeper played all 38 Premier League games for the Reds in his first season at the club. But errors would soon arrive in the Belgian’s goalkeeping – after making 53 consecutive league appearances for his club, Rodgers decided to drop the keeper for an indefinite period for not performing well.
But an injury to Brad Jones made sure that the Belgian would have to play again. He pulled up his socks and came back to finish his second season on a high. However, last season was the period where Liverpool supporters finally came to the conclusion that Mignolet had to be replaced. Statistics had indicated that the former Sunderland goalkeeper had made more individual errors leading to an opposition goal over the course of the League season.
Liverpool are now left with three other options in the goalkeeping department. They, will of course, have the three-season-old Simon Mignolet, and the Reds also have new signing Alex Manninger, who has been signed on a free transfer from Augsburg. The Anfield side will have young Shamal George who is just 18 years old but he will only be used incase there is an injury to the two experienced shot-stoppers.
However, it is Mignolet who will be the main man again for the English side as they look to prepare for the new Premier League season. After Karius’ arrival, the Belgian had vowed to fight for his place in the starting XI, something which was liked by manager Klopp. However, the Kop on social media has not liked the suggestion and have been dreading over the German’s injury.
Klopp had instilled confidence in the 28-year-old Mignolet ahead of Liverpool’s match against AC Milan in the International Champions Cup. "Everyone knows about the quality of Simon Mignolet. He's made a really good impression in the first few days back in training. It's not that I'd decided who was No 1. It was just about collecting information about the two players. It was a battle between Karius and him and now that battle is decided for the next few weeks 100%.”
Hence, there are two key reasons why Mignolet has got a lifeline to reinstill the fans’ and the manager’s confidence in himself.
First – Mignolet will have two months to prove his talent where his side will be facing all the big clubs. Liverpool play Arsenal in the opening game and will also be playing Tottenham, Leicester, Chelsea and Manchester United in the first two months of the campaign. Good performances against these top sides can help his case enormously. Mignolet does not lack the talent and skills to be a top goalkeeper, what he lacks is the confidence and authority that a prominent goalkeeper should have.
Second – If the Belgian can prove his worth with good performances in these two months, he can cement his place in Liverpool’s starting XI as managers in the current scenario do not drop a performing player even if a better player comes back from injury. Even if Klopp was to replace Mignolet or give him a rest, it would be for the FA Cup or the League Cup.
With fellow young goalkeepers Danny Ward, Adam Bogdan and Ryan Fulton – all out on season-long loans, it is time for the Belgian to step-up and show to the world that he has left his error-prone self behind him, and is ready to make the most of the lifeline he has got.