Brendan Rodgers has been impressed with Simon Mignolet’s recent performances…
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has lavished praise on goalkeeper Simon Mignolet after helping inspire a miraculous turnaround in fortunes for the previously under-fire Belgian.
Rodgers took the decision to end Mignolet’s run of 93 consecutive Premier League starts when Liverpool faced Manchester United in mid-December, electing for Australian stopper Brad Jones instead.
However, after an injury to Jones at Burnley on Boxing Day, Mignolet was restored to the no.1 spot and has since conceded just six goals in nine games. His run of fine form culminated in a commanding performance against Chelsea earlier this week, which saw him make several excellent saves.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s game with West Ham, who are likely to provide a stiff test for Mignolet with their more direct style, Rodgers said: “I think Simon has shown the benefits of having a little bit of time out.
“I think he looks like a different goalkeeper. It’s difficult because when you’re playing all the time and you’re preparing, sometimes you won’t get that chance to reflect on your performance.
“Of course, nowadays, if you take a player out, whether it’s through rest or through trying to look after the player and allowing him to develop, [people will say] he’s been ‘dropped’. And that’s not always the case.
“Simon’s spell out of the team was to just take a step back, to analyse his performance, to see areas in which he could improve and clear his mind, knowing that he was going to get the opportunity to go again.”
Rodgers, who was quoted by Liverpool’s official website, added: “When he’s come back into the team, he’s been very clear and shown why we brought him here. He’s a wonderful shot-stopper. He’s starting to be more aggressive now with crosses.
“He’s probably just thinking less, and doing what he does naturally, which is be a top-class goalkeeper. He’s really starting to show the form as to why we brought him here and I’m delighted for him because he works really hard at his game.”