With Liverpool struggling for form over the past month as injuries and suspensions take their toll on the back three and the box four midfield that had previously helped to get them back in the top four race grinds to an ineffectual halt, it’s at least been a chance for Simon Mingolet to show off his improved form.
Assumed to be on his way out as recently as December, when he was benched for a time in favour of Brad Jones, the goalkeeper’s stellar form of late has been the only thing keeping Liverpool’s results hovering around bad instead of dropping to full on disaster. His play has been responsible for victory over Swansea, forcing a replay against Championship side Blackburn, and keeping things respectable against Manchester United.
Mignolet couldn’t keep things close against Arsenal, but even in a 4-1 loss he managed to be one of the best Liverpool players on the pitch. As a result of that improved form and his increased importance to the side, it’s now also fallen to Mignolet to act as dressing room spokesman and the voice of hope for a floundering side.
"You always look for things you can do better and to fix what went wrong," said the Belgian ‘keeper, reflecting on a terrible result and what the players have to do to fix things. "I always speak to the defence, and on the way back from Arsenal we talked through a couple of things. You always look for what you can do better when the next game comes around.
"The good thing is that if there is a game coming so close afterwards, you can go into it looking forward to making sure that you put things right. It’s a massive game against Blackburn. It’s not going to be easy and it’s going to be a totally different game to the one away at Arsenal. It will be tough, but we want to get through to the next round and put in a performance to make sure we play in the semi-final."
With Liverpool’s top four hopes realistically finished—Manchester City, for all their struggles, are seven points ahead of the Reds with seven games to go, a nearly insurmountable gap—and the club having thrown away golden chances to make a mark in the League Cup and Europa League, the FA Cup is likely their last chance to achieve anything of note this season.
On recent form, though, advancing past even a Championship side doesn’t seem a given. Particularly when that Championship side looked their equal at Anfield and forced a replay.