It’s been an upsy-downsy kind of time at Liverpool for Simon Mignolet. The Belgian keeper has experienced the high and lows of living under the Anfield spotlights. The moments of success followed by the moments of doubt. We were there for the penalty saves and the swift reaction time but we furrowed at the distribution and the iffy control of the six-yard box.
It was the gone and nearly forgotten, loaned-to-the-wind, Loris Karius who finally replaced Mignolet as Liverpool’s number one. But, yada yada yada, Alisson was identified as the one keeper to truly rule Melwood and Karius left. Mignolet stayed on as the two but wasn’t all that excited about it.
Surely, Mignolet would have hoped to be playing regularly somewhere else right now but that just didn’t pan out for the Belgian shot-stopper at the close of the transfer window. Instead, the Carabao Cup match against Chelsea was Mignolet’s first match this season.
“I was pleased to be on the pitch,” said Mignolet.
“It’s been awhile since I’ve played. As a keeper it’s very important to get some minutes under your belt, not only for confidence but also the relation with the players. And if you come onto the pitch you have to be ready.
“To be out on the pitch was really nice. I think I did my job the best I could. And for me, that personally, is nice. But, on the other side, going out of this competition where I had the chance to play is disappointing because it means that the chances of playing are smaller.
“I just try to keep working hard in training like I always do and help the team when needed. That’s the only thing I can do really.”
It’s an overlooked consequence of an early cup exit that the fringe players such as Mignolet have to take the loss as well as accept a future with fewer opportunities to perform. The Carabao Cup will no longer be a priority for Liverpool, a club with it’s eyes on the Premier League crown for the first time in a generation, and that’s just fine. But, tip of the hat to Simon. He’s been a pro.