Why Simon Mignolet should be dropped against Sunderland

Dropping Mignolet against his former club, but reinstating him for two key matches at both in Europe and in the Premier League could demonstrate good man management.

Liverpool may have recorded back-to-back wins for only the second time in the Premier League this season, creating a bit more of a positive atmosphere about the club, but there still remains a degree of negativity around goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

He made a howler in the Champions League game against Ludogorets where he spilt a shot in the opening minutes, leading to the Bulgarians taking the lead, and in the 3-1 win at Leicester he came up with an inexcusable howler that went unpunished.

His pass which should have been a simple one to centre-back Martin Skrtel instead found its way to Esteban Cambiasso, only for the veteran midfielder to spurn the opportunity.

Mignolet was on the end of rotten luck as he had an own goal to his name when Leonardo Ulloa's strike hit the post, only to rebound off the Liverpool stopper into the net. Regardless of the circumstances, if an own goal is next to the name of a goalkeeper, there is going to be some kind of backlash from the fans.

In between the two performances was in the main a fine display against Stoke City, where Mignolet's shot stopping ability proved to be vital as Liverpool found their first league win in a month.

But it is clear he is lacking confidence, and maybe it is the right time for him to be taken out of the firing lane when Sunderland visit Anfield this weekend, and be replaced by Brad Jones for this game only. 

It is a big three games ahead for Liverpool. As well as Sunderland, they face a winner takes all clash against Basel in the Champions League to qualify for the knockout stages, before a crucial trip to Old Trafford to take on fierce rivals Manchester United.

If Mignolet doesn't play against Basel and Manchester United, it could shatter his confidence even further. In addition, he is a better goalkeeper than Jones. 

If Brendan Rodgers gave the assurance to Mignolet that despite his poor form he would be playing in two games which could define Liverpool's season, it would signify an enormous amount of faith in the Belgian, whilst the Sunderland game will present an opportunity to take him out of the firing line, and at least one weekend without personal criticism regardless of the result.

It would represent some sensible man management from the Liverpool boss. Mignolet needs a break of some sort, whilst he also needs to know he has his manager's backing. This may represent the best solution.

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