If Simon Mignolet were a fruit, he’d be an avocado -Absolutely loved by some, totally abhorred by [many]others.
His performance against Chelsea was the perfect example of the “Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” scenario’s that usually come to the fore when he stands between the sticks.
Let’s take a look at some of this best and worst moments in Liverpool’s crunch encounter at Anfield. Safe to say, it could also represent Mignolet’s overall performance this season.
Screaming at his fellow players to tighten up the wall, the Belgian’s 1st waffle is about to take place in embarrassing fashion. As Willian stands over the ball, Mignolet is seen pointing and walking away from the wall, totally oblivious to David Luiz sneakily getting into the picture.
And then BOOM! The Ball kisses the pole and into the net, while Simon is left watching it sail in and ping pong around him as Chelsea players celebrate.
Jurgen Klopp pre-game: “We need 100% concentration in this game” – Mignolet probably didn’t hear that either. [Like the whistle]
“Simon’s [Mignolet] at fault for this goal. He should have been concentrating on the free-kick taker.” -Steven Gerrard
There are few times when the Anfield faithful seem totally angered and riled up by performances on the field. Most times it’s the referee, at times a player missing a chance to pass it forward and opting for a safe pass back to the center backs… but sometimes its waiting for Mignolet to distribute the ball. Whether with ball in hand, ball at feet or place kicks, he seems to delay proceedings, almost oblivious to the thousands of voices urging him to hurry up. Stranger still is that most of the time, The Reds are a goal or two down yet still he persists, like a keeper running down the clock, difference being LIVERPOOL NEED THE TIME BECAUSE THEY ARE BEHIND. The frustration from the crowd is audible and compounded when, after buffering like a 64 K Modem in the 90’s, he finally skies one up and it goes straight to the opposition.
Joel Matip fouls Diego Costa with the slightest of touches, but in the box, and Clattenberg points to the spot. Costa manages to resuscitate himself after another near death experience, and readies himself to take the penalty.
Mignolet palms the cross bar, creating a wobbly Mexican wave of metal to distract the kicker, and to show Costa how tall he is.
Costa steps up, chooses a side and kicks the ball, only to find Mignolet had guessed/chosen the right corner. What a save it is!
The kop roars in delight and fellow players are completely galvanized by his spot kick exploits… all previous inept moments are [almost] forgotten.
The manager in his post-match conference mentioned that “Liverpool could’ve lost”…critics and analysts pointed out that they could’ve won, had Simon simply been as alert for the freekick as he was for the penalty.
All in all, Mignolet still has much to do to truly convince Klopp, and to truly win over the Kop.