Magnificent Mignolet helps Liverpool stay in the hunt for a Champion’s League place

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In the month of February this year, it was make or break for Liverpool’s number one Simon Mignolet. Questionable keeping was the top of the agenda at Anfield as everyone seemed to be in turbulence as a result of the early season blip.

While tactical adaptation and injuries had played a role, so often there is a scapegoat. But this time round it was the Liverpool number one, Simon Mignolet. Shaky performances aside there was a certain air of nervousness seemed to his displays

Being at a club of Liverpool’s stature has its own perils – the level of expectations is huge and a blip in form is scrutinized in minute detail. That is when Simon’s better half stepped in – his fiancée, Jasmien, queried him based on the Boxing Day nervous display against Burnley: “Simon, are you sometimes over-thinking stuff?”Those words had the impact of self-realization on him and since then he has excelled in-goal.

In an interview with, the Guardian, where he himself requested for the interview, he wanted to credit his fiancée for his recovery in form.Andy Hunter, one of the leading journalists with Guardian took him up on his offer.  Monday night at the Liberty Stadium, his season turned a full-circle, as he was the one who kept his team in the game, in the first half.

Following his heroics, it gave Liverpool the option to walk into half time with the game still level, and breathe a sigh of relief.

After the interval, a tactically astute Liverpool took control of the game and a ricochet of Henderson ended up in a freakish goal which eventually turned out to be the match-winner. At the onset, the game was a pressure game, as all of Liverpool’s rivals won over the weekend and the race for Champion’s League place has become much tighter. Manchester United boxed Spurs into submission on Sunday, and the day before Arsenal purred and dazzled against West Ham.

Liverpool knew they had to pick up the three points if not the three goals, which their competitors had scored over the weekend.

Against the backdrop of contract negotiations, Brendan Rodgers chose to start Sterling. Another omission in the recent weeks, Steven Gerrard returned from injury as he started on the bench, while Sakho and Skrtel made a return as well. In the early part of the game, it was Swansea City, who did all the running and the creating as Gomis, Shelvey and company took turns testing Mignolet’s awareness.

At times it looked like, Mignolet versus Swansea. Picking out an outstanding save was difficult, but the Sigurdsson shot that was saved, given that Mignolet may have been blindsided was phenomenal. Not to belittle the rest of the team, but Swansea were quicker to the ball. Liverpool while not creating chances of clear-cut nature, still managed the same number of shots as their opponents.

Appreciation should be reserved for the team in the sense and the way Liverpool concentrated on defending. While Swansea may have created the better chances, it was their inability to score which would cost them dearly, as they found to their chagrin later on. The interval was a welcome break, as Liverpool struggled to get a foothold into the game.

On the commencement of the second half, Liverpool changed strategy and instead of playing on the counter, they started pressing higher up the pitch, thus slowly but surely started making inroads into the Swansea box. The goal though can be best described as freakish.

The introduction of Steven Gerrard for Moreno had quickened the passing. Now, this allowed Henderson to make runs from the deep, and through the middle. As the ball was played upfront, Daniel Sturridge flicked the ball into the onrushing Henderson’s path, which was tackled well by Swansea defender, Jordi Almat, only for the ball to ricochet of Henderson’s shin past a flailing Luiz Fabianski.

Lead taken, Liverpool reverted back to Plan A, that was to play on the counter. Swansea sensing that the game was getting away from them made substitutions to provide them pace and incisiveness. Liverpool chose stability as Johnson came on. The onus being on the home team to score, left them vulnerable to counter attacks, but fine saves from Fabianski restricted the score-line to only a goal, as Liverpool kept the pressure on their rivals.

As Liverpool recorded their fifth straight win, they also stretched their unbeaten run to thirteen games. Another statistic they equalled was the number of consecutive away clean sheets. This was only the third time, the last two coming in the years 1966 and 1972 respectively. Such was the positivity radiating from Brendan Rodgers, that he know believes the team can even rise to second in the league. A track record of the previous seasons, Rodgers has been charge, that it is not an outlandish thought.

Keeping the weekend in mind, where they face old rivals, Manchester United. Rodgers was careful and concluded with positive apprehension, “We’ve put ourselves in a great position,” Rodgers said.

“There is still a lot of work to go so we’ll recover now and get ready for the weekend. The target is to finish as high as we can. Everyone talks about fourth but it’s the same every year for me. We do the best we can do.”

18d03d8c557c13924b0a2d44d9e15d28?s=117&d=mm&r=g
Sourav Saha
A lawyer who follows and writes about football

1 COMMENT

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

America’s Largest Amateur League Shines in Baseball’s “Lost Season”

2020 will forever be remembered as baseball’s lost season. The sport was shattered due to the COVID-19 pandemic virus outbreak. Baseball fans were out of luck this summer as they were entirely restricted from attending any professional or semi-pro live games. Watching on television or live stream wasn’t much better. Most of the MLB season was cancelled including the pre-season, the much anticipated Iowa Field of Dreams game, Puerto Rico series, London Series and All...

IPL: Mumbai Indians Lose Season Opener

Mumbai Indians lost an Indian Premier League (IPL) opener for the 8th successive year following a 5-wicket loss to Chennai Super Kings. Having lost the first game of the season in the last 7 years, Mumbai might have thought this was their time, as they were on a 5-game winning run against CSK. However, ex Mumbai Indians player Ambati Rayudu and South African superstars Faf du Plessis and Lungi Ngidi ensured that it didn’t...

When Did Formula One Begin?

If you ask virtually anyone the world over a simple question – “What is Formula One” they will probably get the answer correct.  It’s a car race!  Even though that might be a very simple reply (a better answer would be it’s the highest class of international single-seater auto-racing!) there is another question that will probably stump them.  That question is “When did Formula One begin?”. In order to answer the question properly we need...

Stanley Cup Finals: Tampa Bay Lightning vs Dallas Stars

After nearly two months of play in the hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton, one more team, either the Tampa Bay Lightning or the Dallas Stars will have their bubble burst as the other emerges as the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals champions. The Stars won two games against the Lightning in the regular season, each in overtime (4-3 on December 19; 3-2 on January 27) The Lightning representing the Eastern Conference made it to the...

The Cleveland Browns Are Looking Up

The Cleveland Browns have a team that had a ton of questions this year. They came into the game against the Bengals unsure of how they were going to get their offense going. While the Bengals aren't at all a good defense, it's still hard to play those divisional games and win. The AFC North is known for brutally cold weather that makes it nearly impossible to stay sharp, yet they were sharp offensively....

The Case For Rocky Marciano

You wouldn't think, not even for a second, that you would have to defend a world champion boxer who retired with an unblemished record of 49-0 (43 KO's), but if it's Rocky Marciano we're talking about then yep, he needs to be defended. It's ridiculous, but true. Marciano seems to have as many naysayers as he does fans. "He was too small", "He never fought anybody in their prime", "He'd get killed today"; etc....

Fantasy Basketball: The Best Draft Pick Techniques You Should Know

Image Source Fantasy Basketball gives everyone the anticipation that keeps you up at night just to draft the ultimate fantasy basketball line-up. Your ultimate goal is to dominate any opponent all season. Sadly, not everyone has the skills and experience to win. Remember that if you are considering joining a fantasy basketball league, you need to consider some factors. Successful players and experts choose more than their favorite team or a player's value. Even if you...

2020 NBA Western Conference Finals: A Victor Emerges

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets will meet for the second time in the NBA Western Conference Finals. The Lakers managed to breeze through Portland and Houston in the first two rounds, while Denver has proven themselves to be true underdogs, coming back from a 3-1 deficit against Utah and the L.A. Clippers. Will the Lakers blow past the Nuggets, or will Denver pull off another unimaginable moment in the playoffs?   Point Guard:...

Why Did the Clippers Fail in the NBA Playoffs?

Lets make one thing clear; the Nuggets won that series because they were a better team than the Clippers. They outplayed the Clippers in the NBA playoffs, plain and simple. Yes the Clippers did underperform, it was due to the Nuggets were elite. They were one of the hottest teams in the bubble and they've gotten it done. Jamal Murray has developed into an elite scorer, the Joker has kept up his elite play, and...

Leinster VS Ulster: Pro 14 Champions Final 2020

The annual Pro 14 tournament was wrapped up as the final whistle blew at The Aviva Stadium in Dublin this past weekend. Leinster reigned in as the Pro 14 Champions 2020 against an enthusiastic Ulster team, winning 27-5, to become the first side ever to win three consecutive Pro 14 titles. The Dublin side held their remarkable reputation as the most successful provincial Irish rugby sides following their victory on Saturday, and have once again...

Social Connect

1,183FansLike
3,696FollowersFollow

Trending Now

When Did Formula One Begin?

If you ask virtually anyone the world over a simple question – “What is Formula One” they will probably get the answer correct.  It’s...
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
1
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x