Bruce Grobbelaar has spoken out in support of Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, claiming that the Belgian stopper has improved drastically since he criticised him last season.
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In November 2014, our former number one said that Mignolet was ‘worse than Dracula’ after a series of high-profile errors. He is quoted in the Daily Mirror as saying: “I’ve said that he doesn’t command his area. Yes he’s a great shot-stopper; I was slaughtered last year by Liverpool fans saying that I’m being too harsh on him.
“I’m not being too harsh. Not at all. I’ve likened him ‘worse than Dracula’ because at least Dracula comes out of his coffin now and then. He [Mignolet] seems to stay on his line and that’s it.
“In this modern day and age, in modern goalkeeping, if you come out and you catch the ball and you get smacked, you’re going to get the foul. It’s not rocket science….You’re going to get a lot more fouls for you and less are going to go in the back of the net.”
The 27-year-old was dropped in favour of Brad Jones soon after the Zimbabwean’s comments, although he was quickly restored to the side after Jones suffered an injury during the Boxing Day game with Burnley.
Thankfully, Mignolet quickly set about restoring his reputation after the turn of the year. Only Manchester City’s Joe Hart finished the campaign with more Premier League clean-sheets and the former Sunderland man was ultimately one of our stand-out performers in an otherwise disappointing season.
Grobbelaar, who won six league titles and the European Cup during his time with Liverpool, agrees. He told the Liverpool Echo: “I mentioned that Mignolet is bad at coming for crosses and as soon as that went into the newspapers, he got better,” he said.
“Since then I haven’t criticised him for not coming because he’s learned to command his area like a goalkeeper should. He has got better, in the second half of last season he got a lot better. I just hope he continues to grow into a goalkeeper of Liverpool stature.”
He told the Echo that he was also impressed with the addition of our new number two, Adam Bogdan. He added: “Bogdan proved himself in the FA Cup [against Liverpool], he did very well at Bolton and I believe Brendan Rodgers has been monitoring him for some time.”