When goalkeeping stud and all around dreamboat Loris Karius signed for Liverpool early this summer, it appeared that Simon Mignolet would be on a one-way ticket to Benchtown. We at TLO speculated as much, and subsequent news of Karius choosing to skip the Olympics to fight for his place in the squad gave a pretty clear indication that those speculations were correct.
Of course, man plans and Fowler laughs, and the brand-new number one broke his hand on Dejan Lovren’s adamantium-plated head (we assume), and is not scheduled to return until the beginning of October. Effort is good and all, Loris, but next time please know that it was just preseason and you’re always likely to come out second-best in a challenge with Lovern’s head. Just ask Southampton.
Anyway, Mignolet’s sentence to bench duty and the beginning rounds of cup competitions has been commuted through no fault of his own, and he thought he’d celebrate by talking to the official website about the value of competition.
“In the end, it’s all down to you,” Mignolet said. “You have to keep your head down, work hard and make sure you put in the performances yourself. You don’t look over your shoulder to anybody else.
“It’s about making sure you put in your own best possible performance every day on the training pitch and on a matchday.”
The Belgian shot-stopper spoke about the burgeoning relationship between himself and the new ‘keepers. It’s difficult to make out the inflection of the written word, but you can tell he’s really broken up about Karius’s injury.
“The dynamic [between the goalkeepers] is really good. Alex is obviously brilliant with his experience, to give knowledge to us. Loris unfortunately got injured.
“We get on really well and we’re working really well together with the goalkeeping coach. We have had a few young guys up as well to help us out. The goalies’ union is there and is strong.”
Even if his Liverpool career as first-choice goalkeeper is on life-support, the pear magnate is at least saying the right things.
“I’m a team player – so together with the squad I want to fight both in the Premier League and the domestic cups. Liverpool has a history of winning trophies and playing in Europe. That’s where we have to be again and we’ll try to do that.”
It’s easy to be critical of Mignolet after the last two very flappy and very shaky years between the sticks. He never quite developed beyond the instinctive shot-stopper that we all wanted him to be, and even his shot-stopping reflexes have suffered since the title run in 2013/14. It leaves the Belgian in an unenviable position for the start of the season. Hopefully, he can regain that earlier form from two years ago and make himself part of the conversation once again.