Is Mignolet criticism justified? Liverpool team-mate gives backing to keeper

Statistics show the amount of saves the Belgian has made this season may make up for the lack of command in his area.

Simon Mignolet’s form seems to be a massive cause for concern at the moment – with recent matches showing that he is perhaps not as solid as he was earlier on in the season for the Reds.

He has looked a little frail in games against Manchester City, Chelsea, Stoke City and Aston Villa and has led to the first real questions of the Belgian.

Defender Kolo Toure has backed Mignolet to bounce back from his recent poor form, telling the Liverpool Echo

'Simon will get through it as he is really strong mentally. I told him that the life of defenders and goalkeepers is like this. You can play 120 games without making a mistake and then make two in two games and it’s like you have to start all over again. All keepers have sticky patches but he is a strong guy and he knows he has a big part to play in the season.'

Mignolet's predecessor Pepe Reina was a favourite amongst Liverpool fans and won the golden gloves on several occasions. Reina was a different keeper but also made the odd error, but never really in bursts like this.

Whilst some will point to Reina's Merseyside derby juggling act which capped off a horror show at Goodison Park that day, or the odd cross which was unclaimed or knocking the ball into his own net, there was usually a significant gap between those errors. They never really seemed to affect his ability. 

Mignolet however looks like a keeper who is reluctant to leave his six yard area at times, has looked uncomfortable under crosses but his main asset has been his shot stopping.

Having only come for to try and claim 20 crosses this season, he has claimed 16 of them and perhaps should be more confident – though the confusion that led to Christian Benteke putting Aston Villa 2-0 up may have been the confusion with Glen Johnson.

NameTeamPosCross Not ClaimedAppsMins
Wojciech Szczesny Arsenal GK 5 22 1,980
Tim Howard Everton GK 4 21 1,823
Simon Mignolet Liverpool GK 4 22 1,980
Brad Guzan Aston Villa GK 3 22 1,980
John Ruddy Norwich GK 3 22 1,980

If we have a look at the statistic below, you could argue it further illustrates that he isn't the best under crosses with several others keepers ahead of him, though you could argue that Liverpool don't face so many balls from wide areas or long balls.

NameTeamPosGood High ClaimAppsMins
Brad Guzan Aston Villa GK 64 22 1,980
John Ruddy Norwich GK 39 22 1,980
Julian Speroni Crystal Palace GK 39 22 1,980
Asmir Begovic Stoke GK 34 17 1,530
Wojciech Szczesny Arsenal GK 33 22 1,980
David Marshall Cardiff GK 32 21 1,890
Tim Howard Everton GK 31 21 1,823
Hugo Lloris Spurs GK 30 21 1,890
Tim Krul Newcastle GK 27 22 1,980
Vito Mannone Sunderland GK 26 13 1,127
Petr Cech Chelsea GK 25 22 1,980
Boaz Myhill West Brom GK 24 14 1,260
Artur Boruc Southampton GK 21 15 1,318
Jussi Jääskeläinen West Ham GK 19 18 1,620
David Stockdale Fulham GK 19 11 914
Joe Hart Man City GK 16 15 1,350
Simon Mignolet Liverpool GK 16 22 1,980

However, the saves that Mignolet has made this season seems to be pretty considerable with only two goalkeepers ahead of him in the league, and they both play for clubs who are in a relegation battle - with David Marshall's Cardiff City currently bottom of the Premier League.

David Marshall Cardiff GK 88 21 1,890
John Ruddy Norwich GK 74 22 1,980
Simon Mignolet Liverpool GK 68 22 1,980
Wojciech Szczesny Arsenal GK 67 22 1,980
Tim Krul Newcastle GK 66 22 1,980

Clearly crossing is something the Belgian international will have to work on in the weeks ahead if he is to mould himself into a successful goalkeeper at Anfield. Though this probably highlights yet again underlines the defensive frailties at Liverpool as well as enhancing Mignolet's reputation of a very good shot stopper. 


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