Simon Mignolet produced a howler on Friday night, but that does not mean that he is a bad goalkeeper.
When Mignolet came to Liverpool, the first few seasons of his Liverpool career were saturated with howlers and mishaps. It became something of a joke. However, in recent seasons his mistakes have become less frequent. After a string of impressive performances in the back end of last season, I was comfortable with Mignolet as our goalkeeper. He had started to win us points, rather then being the reason for us dropping points. As a result, when the summer came around, signing a goalkeeper was not a priority for me. There were a lot more pertinent issues that needed reinforcement, like at centre back for instance – but that is a different article completely.
I’d even argue that the mistake is a one off for Mignolet. His problems used to be in controlling his area, in dominating his box when crosses come in, failing to catch easy balls. This mistake was a shot-stopping error, which is usually his strength. The kind of error that it was is out of character for Mignolet. The very fact though that we are still seeing him make these simple mistakes. Still talking about him in this way, means we need a new goalkeeper. A top-class goalkeeper.
What about Karius? Well the problem with Karius is the same problem that we have with Mignolet. He is good. Just not good enough. I would argue that Karius is only a marginal improvement on Mignolet at best. Where Ward fits in I do not know but when all three keepers are fit I do not think he would get many games, what goes on in Melwood we do not know but you must think, if he was clearly better then Simon or Loris then he would have started more games by now surely?
What Friday night’s game proved above all else is the difference between a keeper that wins you trophies and a decent keeper. A top-quality keeper is reliable and does not make those mistakes.
Mignolet and Karius are probably good enough to get us Champions League football. They are not good enough if Liverpool have serious ambitions of silverware.
If we had a Courtois, De Gea or a Hugo Loris in goal, we would not be having this discussion. That is the difference between what we have and what we need.
Article by Tom Culshaw
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