Liverpool legend John Aldridge was more than impressed with Simon Mignolet’s performance in the weekend’s 2-0 win at Aston Villa, and believes that the club’s new-look defence has filled with him fresh confidence.
Writing in his column for the Liverpool Echo, the former striker asserts that Liverpool have looked like a much more settled side since switching to a 3-4-3 formation in recent weeks, and wants to see the centre-back trio of Emre Can, Mamadou Sakho and Martin Skrtl remain in place moving forward.
“Mignolet, I thought, was superb. I've been seeing an improvement in him for a few weeks now, and this was his best performance of the season by an absolute mile,” he wrote. “And I think a lot of that is down to having found, or created, a settled defence.
“All three of the centre backs at Villa were impressive. Emre Can calmed everything down and won his battles, Mamadou Sakho is improving every week, and Martin Skrtel mopped up everything that he needed to.
“That makes a difference for a goalkeeper, to have some kind of understanding and relationship with the players in front of you,” he continued. “At times this season it has looked like that wasn't there, and Liverpool suffered badly as a result, but it has been slowly returning of late. And guess what? Results have picked up accordingly.
“Rodgers deserves credit for devising that formation, and then sticking to it. I can't see him abandoning it any time soon.”
Mignolet, 26, has come under increasing pressure from fans and the media alike this season following a series of error-strewn performances, but has been better since returning from a three-game absence when backup Brad Jones replaced him.
Liverpool have been linked with a host of goalkeeping targets in the wake of his earlier struggles but, after keeping consecutive clean sheets behind the new back three, a corner might just have been turned.
In fact, the main area of concern for Liverpool could now be summer signing Dejan Lovren, who, after arriving for a sizeable £20 million sum from Southampton, now finds himself relegated to a bit-part role for the foreseeable future.