It was not a good day at the office for Simon Mignolet. The keeper came in for major criticism after Liverpool's draw against West Brom on Sunday that saw him partake in a few defensive gaffes, the most unfortunate of which ended with Liverpool conceding an equalizing goal just nine minutes after going ahead 1-0. Jürgen Klopp was quick to absolve his netminder of any wrong doing post-match, citing explicit direction to have Mignolet play in a way that might leave him open to error.
"I said to Simon at half time, 'If somebody says it is your fault, you can say it's not true, it's [Klopp's] fault,'" Klopp said. "Because I want a keeper who helps. I want a keeper who comes out and tries everything, with 20 players around him, he tried but didn't get the ball for the first goal.
"We tried it, we have to do better, we will work on it but nothing to say negative about Simon. First goal of course for me he tried and that's important. It's really difficult in England because there is no-one to protect goalkeepers. But I want him to come out because he can help. Sometimes you try something and it's a fault but it's not the biggest problem."
It's a style of play that not all keepers are necessarily comfortable with let alone good at, and for every Manuel "I could be a 3. Bundesliga outfielder" Neuer in the world, there are ten keepers who are not nearly as adept at marauding off their line. With Klopp having made it previously clear that he's not looking to replace Mignolet, his willingness to experiment seems to indicate some level of faith in the Belgian's ability to grow into the keeper role he envisions for Liverpool's men between the sticks.