???️ Should Danny Ward Start This Weekend?

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I thought that this was behind us, apparently not. In Simon Mignolet’s first couple of seasons at Liverpool, many argued that he was not a good enough goalkeeper to play for Liverpool. His command of his area wasn’t good enough and he was just nervous to watch sometimes. If he can make me nervous watching from home or in the stands, then how nervous must the centre-backs feel when playing in front of him? The rest of his Anfield career since the stuttering start has been one of redemption. There have been dips but on the whole, there have been a general upward trend in his performances. To the point where by the end of last season he had started to win us points with his saves, rather than costing us points with is blunders. Last weekend at Wembley though, it was if he was the old Mignolet all over again. The Mignolet who would completely miss a ball from a cross, only for Benteke to score a tap in. It was as if all the progress that he had made was for nothing. After that performance many fans are searching high and low for people to blame. Dejan Lovren was the obvious one but the answer to that is simple. Bin him off and play Gomez. Job done. Lovren has been consistently terrible this season and deserves to be dropped. Mignolet however has had one terrible game but the frustration of that is far greater than if it was anybody else, simply due to how much progress that he seemed to have made. Dropping a goalkeeper is a much bigger statement then dropping an outfield player and I would not usually advocate doing so. However, on this occasion I feel like it is time to drop him and this is because of two main reasons. The first reason being that I feel like Mignolet responds well in these situations. He has been dropped before and always comes back stronger. Brad jones took his place in December 2014 for a game against Manchester United and would have been dropped indefinitely if it wasn’t for an injury that Brad Jones sustained not long after.  He then faced more competition last season due to the incoming of Loris Karius. Yet again though, luck was on his side and Karius obtained an injury in pre-season meaning Mingolet had a chance to leave an impression on the first team. When Karius inevitably came back, he struggled, and people were calling for the now “steady hands” of Simon Mignolet. Redemption. He took a bad situation and came out the other side a better player for it. Fair play.   The second reason Is that we have been talking all season about the depth of our goalkeeping options. We can afford to have a different goalkeeper for different competitions, ensuring that all three get adequate game time. However, we are no longer in the League Cup. There is no guarantee of a cup run in the FA Cup. Which has led to me feeling like Danny Ward has been short changed in this situation and with Loris Karius looking all but convincing in the champions league I feel like this is a brilliant chance to give Ward an opportunity to prove why he is good enough to play for Liverpool. Why have the strength in depth if we are afraid to use it? Dropping Simon Mignolet and giving Danny Ward an opportunity to impress is the best thing to do for all parties involved. Good for Mignolet because I am sure that if he does come back in the team he will be the Mignolet we had gotten used to towards the back end of last season. Good for Ward because he gets a chance to show us how good he is. More importantly it is good for Liverpool because, no matter how good Ward is, we will come out the other side much improved in that position. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments.   Article by Tom Culshaw
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