Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet became the latest in a long line of players who has sung the praises of their new manager. The Reds have yet to face defeat under Jürgen Klopp, and their performances have been improving in every game. The victory against Rubin Kazan on Thursday at the Kazan Stadium was the first win away from home in Europe for Liverpool. The team's defense, in particular, has looked stronger and more cohesive since Klopp's taken charge, and no one benefits from that more than Simon Mignolet.
Speaking about this turnaround, Mignolet cited Klopp's positive influence as the reason for Liverpool's improvement.
“The boss has given all the lads a lot of confidence,” Mignolet said. “Everyone knows what their job is. The message from him is very clear. The style is to press and make life difficult for the opponent.
“I didn’t have a single save to make in the whole game because we were so well organised. We never gave anything away. There were no errors, no mistakes, we didn’t give many set-pieces away. When you are like that defensively then one goal can win you the game.
“Throughout the team everyone is working hard to do the things the gaffer wants us to do.”
This is a marked difference from Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers, particularly during that fantastic 2013-2014 season when the team had the firepower up front to set out to outscore their opponents. With Liverpool's striking options limited due to injuries and poor form, an emphasis on intelligent possession and limiting mistakes has become crucial.
The win on Thursday also put Liverpool in a much safer place in their Europa League group. Their six points has given them some breathing room in second place, with a full three points now separating them from third place Bordeaux. Leaders FC Sion are on eight points, but still have to face Liverpool in the next round of games.
About this important victory, Mignolet said, “We got what we wanted. We knew it was an important game for us in terms of the group. We needed a win and we achieved that in a really professional manner. Three points and a clean sheet – that’s what you want away from home in Europe. We’ve put ourselves in a good position to go further in the competition but the job is not finished yet.”
Another positive to be taken from the game was the excellent performance by the struggling Jordon Ibe, who scored the game's only goal. His form had dipped in recent months, which is to be expected from a young player who is still finding his feet in the Premier League, but hopefully this win will provide him with some confidence going forward. Getting him back into the form we witnessed before his injury last season could only help Liverpool as they attempt to continue their resurgence under Klopp.
Mignolet was thrilled for his teammate, stating, "Jordon scored a wonderful goal on the counter. He took it so well but he also worked his socks off as well in the defensive aspect and that’s what you want."
Liverpool will be looking to add another three points to their league total on Sunday when they travel to face Crystal Palace, a team that has caused them serious difficulties over the last eighteen months. Another victory would extend their unbeaten streak, but it would also break the jinx that Palace has had over them.