Was dropping Simon Mignolet really the right decision for Liverpool…
Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has been dropped “indefinitely” by manager Brendan Rodgers, who it seems is slowly losing the plot, as well as his chances of hanging on to his job.
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Mignolet has struggled this season. Indeed, he has struggled since joining Liverpool from Sunderland in the summer of 2013. But now seems like a strange time for this decision to come, and looks more an act of desperation from Rodgers, rather than a stroke of tactical genius.
After all, the Belgian has conceded just two goals in his last four games, and could do little about either the own goal against Leicester, where the ball cruelly rebounded off the post, or the well placed effort that beat him against Basel.
By dropping him for a game of the magnitude of Manchester United at Old Trafford, Rodgers has single-handedly destroyed what was left of his goalkeeper’s confidence, and comprehensively announced to the world that Mignolet’s future at Liverpool is very, very uncertain.
Rodgers could have been forgiven for dropping Mignolet on numerous occasions this season, or even last – as it was after all Liverpool’s knack for conceding untimely goals that ultimately cost them the Premier League title, despite their attacking brilliance.
But why now, when he’s finally starting to regain some confidence, and there is no proper replacement lined up? Rodgers spent £120m in the summer transfer window, and yet he failed to address the club’s overwhelming need for a goalkeeper, at least capable of challenging for a fist-team place.
Brad Jones has, with the utmost respect, done very little to prove that he deserves a chance in the Liverpool first-team. The 32-year-old Australian had made, prior to Sunday, just 21 appearances in three and a half years at the club.
The former Middlesbrough stopper has only twice played more than 20 games in a season, and has only ever enjoyed regular game time during loan spells with a variety of lower league clubs.
Even if Rodgers had decided against keeping Mignolet on long-term, could he not have lasted another couple of weeks until the January transfer window? He says he’s allowing his player to ‘recover his best form away from the spotlight’, but his comments have only served to highlight his current problems.
If Rodgers wants to make the squad better, he needs to show faith in his players, and give them the chance to prove why they play for Liverpool, not cast them aside and take them out of the firing line.
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