Which goalkeeper should be Brendan Rodgers’ no.1…?
Liverpool look set to sign legendary Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes on a free transfer, after the Spaniard ran down his contract at the Camp Nou at the end of last season.
The Reds currently have Belgian international Simon Mignolet between the sticks though – and it’s unsure whether 32-year-old Valdes will be arriving as his backup, or as the Reds’ first-choice keeper.
So let’s run down some of their defining characteristics…
-Valdes is arguably in his goalkeeping prime at 32, whereas Mignolet is still relatively young for a keeper at 26.
-Valdes is small for a goalkeeper at 6. ft, whereas Mignolet stands tall at 6 ft. 4″.
-In terms of career success, Valdes is way way out in front – although this has everything to do with the fact he played for Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side, widely recognised as the best club team in history. Valdes has won six La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues, while Mignolet has only ever won the Belgian second division.
-Neither have enormous international experience. Mignolet’s made 14 appearances for Belgium, stuck behind Thibaut Courtois in the pecking order, while Valdes has won just the 20 caps for Spain, playing third fiddle to Iker Casillas and Pepe Reina throughout his career.
-Last term, Mignolet played in every Premier League fixture for the Reds, whereas injury restricted Valdes to 26 because of injury.
-Valdes’s injury will keep him out until December, while Mignolet has never missed a match through injury since signing for Liverpool last summer.
-The Belgian averaged 26 passes per match last term, completing 65% of them and playing 7.7 long balls every game. Interestingly, Valdes only completed 14 passes per match, making 62% of them, but only played 2.6 long balls per match. (WhoScored.)
-Both are renowned as strong shot stoppers. They are agile, and have remarkably quick reflexes.
-Again interestingly though, Mignolet and Valdes are known for struggling to deal with crosses, and not having a particularly dominant physical presence.
-Valdes is technically brilliant with the ball at his feet, and is better suited to a possession brand of football which encourages playing the ball out from the back.