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Battle For Starting Goalkeeper "Heats Up"

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According to Simon Mignolet he’s ready for Loris Karius’s challenge after a “good” start to the season.

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

According to Simon Mignolet he’s had a good start to the campaign. This, among a litany of other reasons, is why Mignolet will be replaced as soon as Loris Karius is fully recovered.

At best, Mignolet’s performances so far have been inconsistent and perfectly in line with what we’ve seen from the Belgian goalkeeper over the past two years. He’s had great moments—saving Walcott’s penalty and Alderweireld's header—along with some bad ones, notably conceding 5 of 7 shots on target against Arsenal and Burnley.

“I always critically analyse my performances and will always look to improve but I don't think I can knock myself up to much for any of the goals we have conceded,” Mignolet said in an interview with The Echo, “In between, I kept a clean sheet in the League Cup against Burton.

“Putting everything together, it has been a positive start, especially with the three league games being away from home.”

Although the defense hung the goalkeeper out to dry on many of 6 goals conceded so far, he has consistently let in a higher percentage of shots on target over the last year than many of his Premier League counterparts, particularly those at top clubs. It is a team game, and defensive lapses can put undue pressure on a goalkeeper to make big saves. The defense certainly needs to do better, regardless of who is between the sticks. However, if Mignolet were truly critical of his own performances, he should know that he needs to do better.

One interesting tidbit from the interview was that the pear aficionado knew Liverpool would be bringing in new competition for his spot when he signed his controversial 5-year contract extension last season.

“When I signed that new contract the club said that there would be fresh competition. That is the normal thing - that you have three competitive goalkeepers.

“When I signed my new deal last year Liverpool suggested that I took the number one, but I never wanted it. For me it's always been number 22.”

Well Simon, we brought in competition and a goalkeeper who is glad to wear the number one. Don’t be surprised when that number one actually represents his proper place in the squad, not just a number on his back, and that “competition” turns out to be “replacement.”