Confidence is a tricky thing in sports. When a player has it, an average player can become godlike. Without it, and the best players in the world can look like amateurs. Liverpool have a number of players that appear to be suffering from a lack of confidence, but none seem to be suffering more than Simon Mignolet.
Mignolet started his Liverpool career like a house on fire, playing out of his skull until the weather turned to winter last season, and still mostly playing well for the rest of the campaign. This year, though, has been filled with more rough spots than smooth, and of late he's been looking shakier and shakier in goal. The mistakes he made en route to Ludogorets' goals, particularly the fumbled shot that lead to the first, are a pretty scary capper on what's been an unpleasant couple of months for Mignolet.
Brendan Rodgers, though, wants Mignolet to put his woes behind him and move onwards and upwards. "As a goalkeeper you have to be able to let these things go," Rodgers said in an interview. "The goal was a massive setback for the team but we need to keep [Mignolet's] confidence as high as we can. We have to look to the weekend and keep a clean sheet."
Of course, that's far easier said than done. If the defense can keep things clean in front of Mignolet against Stoke this weekend, then there's a chance that he can steady things out a bit and perhaps regain some of his lost bearing. It's been a long time since the defense has put in such a performance, though, so you probably shouldn't hold your breath.
No matter what, though, it's time for Mignolet to put up or shut up. With the doubters growing ever louder and his performances degrading, it's only a matter of time before he looses the faith of his coaches because of his mistakes. With all the rumors connecting Liverpool to a new goalkeeper of late, that would be very bad for Mignolet's future at Anfield.