Liverpool - Mignolet needed those heroics

Mignolet

After replacing Pepe Reina, Mignolet's heroics at the end of Liverpool's game with Stoke City means his career at Anfield has got off to a good start.

Simon Mignolet’s Premier League debut for Liverpool will live long in the memory – there is probably no grander way to introduce yourself to your new club’s fans by saving a penalty late on in the game to earn your side a vital opening day win.

Yet that wasn’t all Mignolet had to do on his debut and he has a massive task in the weeks and months ahead.

Brendan Rodgers made a big call in the summer over his goalkeepers by bringing in Mignolet from Sunderland for £8m but also allowing crowd favourite Pepe Reina leave the club on loan – who in many of the younger eyes at Anfield is a legend of the club, and certainly a great servant.

He had a shaky start to the weekend, having struggled with a cross which gave Robert Huth a chance to put Stoke City ahead at Anfield – a chance he squandered by smacking his volley against the crossbar. A let off for the Belgian, yet there a hairy moment when receiving the ball at his feet as he tries to adapt to Liverpool’s style of player, with the keeper having a more active role with the ball at his feet - with a little tension noticeable in the stands.

The other aspect is that Mignolet doesn’t seem to have the same kind of commanding presence the Spaniard had behind his back four, which is something will take time to develop – on crosses it looks as if Mignolet is more comfortable staying at home. Kolo Toure seemed to in the second half take much of the pressure off Mignolet when it came to playing the ball out of defence. He has time on his side to grow into that role further and improve - which he surely will.

A debut for a new club will always carry nerves with it. Yet despite a couple of hairy moments he has shown his character and was given the opportunity to shine, first of all with a very good diving save from a Jonathan Walters shot just before half time to keep his side ahead going into the break.

It felt as if a few of the struggles that he had earlier on in the game had been swiftly put behind him, and he looked that bit taller with his head held that little bit higher as it looked as if he was growing into the role and starting to relish the challenge.

There is much more for Mignolet to do to become the great that Rodgers thinks he can be at Anfield – but he hasn’t made a bad start, and his heroics at the end give him something to build on. 

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