From benched in December to frontrunner to win the Golden Gloves in April, it’s been quite the turnaround for Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mingolet. While Philippe Coutinho’s stunning strike took the headlines, most of the credit for Liverpool’s victory over Blackburn Rovers, one that now sees them heading to Wembley, has to be given to the man between the sticks.
A flurry of saves to start the second half kept Liverpool in the match and meant there was still an opportunity for Coutinho’s late heroics, and it’s a reflection of just how well Mignolet has been playing of late that no Liverpool fan was especially surprised by the goalkeeper once again bailing them out. And following the match, Mignolet was quick to credit those fans, the travelling support, for their part in it all.
"Our objective was to get to the semi-final," said the Belgian, speaking to the club’s official website following Wednesday night's victory at Ewood Park. "We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, we knew it was going to be a tough game. Blackburn made it difficult for us both at home and at Ewood Park, but everybody didn’t their jobs and luckily we managed to score the goal which puts us through to the semi-final.
"We gave something back to the fans, who have got something to look forward to now as well with the trip to Wembley. They stand behind us at every single away game, they turn up in numbers, and it’s always nice to play in front of that crowd. They pushed us forward and they have something to look forward to now with a big game at Wembley, [and] hopefully we can get to the final as well."
Given how long the replay had to wait due to European play and the March international break, that semi-final is now only ten days away, and Liverpool will face Aston Villa as the designated away side at Wembley, with a 3:00PM BST kickoff on Sunday, April 19th. As a result, the match against Hull City scheduled for that weekend has been moved to Tuesday, April 28th at 7:45PM BST.