In a media session that Simon Mignolet reportedly arranged himself in the pre-Crystal Palace build-up, the Belgian opened up about his struggles earlier in the season, as well as how he's started to find his way back. His comments were thoughtful and revealing, and it was clear that he'd spent plenty of time considering the form that saw him fall behind Brad Jones in the goalkeeping hierarchy. Most revealing was the moment that he started to put it all together, with his fiancee Jasmien getting the credit for addressing one of the main problems:
"It was Boxing Day, my family were over here, and my missus and everyone were having dinner when she said: ‘Simon, are you sometimes over-thinking stuff?' Those were her words. I didn't really give a response at the time. She knows when to speak to me about football and when to leave me alone. The next day I went into training and as we were analysing the game the coaching staff gave me the same words. That was the trigger in my mind that we had to say ‘Look, we have to sort this out'. "
It looks as though the sorting out is going well. At Selhurst Park on Saturday night, Mignolet was one of Liverpool's best, calmly handling crosses with well-timed punches away and the types of catches most had been waiting for all season. He didn't get a clean sheet despite his best efforts, but he did once again manage to provide stability in goal as part of Liverpool's improved defense, and as they controlled the match down the stretch, he did everything that was needed to ensure that the hosts didn't find their way back into the match. The distribution still needs work, but in every other facet of the game, he was terrific.
After spending most of the fall wondering who would be Liverpool's next number one, it might end up that the new and improved version of Simon Mignolet is the answer.
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