(Opinion): Why Mignolet could be a keeper for Klopp in the 2019/20 season

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The future of Simon Mignolet at Liverpool remains somewhat uncertain. After first begrudgingly losing his place to Loris Karius, the Belgian ‘keeper has been far more understanding that world-class Alisson Becker is the Reds’ No. 1.

On June 24th, Paul Joyce wrote in The Times that Mignolet could “remain at the club next season with Jürgen Klopp valuing his attitude and approach to being back-up goalkeeper to Alisson Becker.”

A model professional, Mignolet has clearly impressed Jürgen Klopp and John Achterberg with his selfless discipline and eagerness to put the success of the time over any personal ego.

He also penned the enouraging words that, “For the situation to change, there would need to be the offer of a permanent move from a club that excited Mignolet and also guaranteed Liverpool a fair fee for the 31-year-old.”

Joyce’s piece painted a picture of unselfishness and assuaged concerns the Reds would have to enter a difficult market to replace the experienced 31-year-old.

Which makes an article that came a day later all the more confusing.

The next morning on June 25th, an piece was published in the Evening Standard linking Mignolet with an £8 million move to Crystal Palace, while namechecking Southampton’s Alex McCarthy as his possible replacement.

While the Reds had been linked with McCarthy as a possible candidate for the understudy to Alisson, the rumour was yet another target of the quashing policy at the Echo – exactly a week before the Evening Standard piece.

Now, you’re not telling me that McCarthy – all due respect to him – is a better ‘keeper than Mignolet.

Yes, the Belgian has his flaws and a mistake in him from time to time, but as far as back-up ‘keepers go, there aren’t too many as experienced or able than he is in the Premier League.

With Caoimhin Kelleher out injured, Kamil Grabara on holiday after the U21 Euros and Alisson too on a post-Copa América winning holiday, the Reds are still waiting for Mignolet to return meaning that they’ve had to draft in 16-year-old Jakub Ojrzynski and under-18s ‘keeper Vitezslav Jaros for pre-season for now.

20-year-old Arijanet Muric has been Manchester City’s second-choice in the 2018/19 after Claudio Bravo got injured (though Ederson played basically every game).

Behind Hugo Lloris at Spurs? Paulo Gazzaniga. Sergio Romero at Manchester United; Maarten Stekelenburg playing second fiddle to Jordan Pickford, and the revolving trio of Tom Heaton, Joe Hart, and Nick Pope at Burnley.

Behind Bernd Leno, Petr Cech has now departed Arsenal and they’ve sold David Aspina, leaving Emiliano Martínez as their most senior ‘keeper and he’s only played 14 games since arriving in 2011!

Then there’s Danny Ward, who left the Reds when Alisson joined to go to Leicester, Asmir Begovic is a more than capable ‘keeper behind Artur Boruc at Bournemouth, and you might say Chelsea’s Willy Cabellero is at Mignolet’s level.

Either way, a man responsible for moments such as these is surely irreplaceble (tongue firmly in cheek).

When you look at the comparisons of second-choice ‘keepers across the rest of the top-flight, Simon Mignolet’s total of 245 Premier League appearances for both Sunderland and Liverpool, and 204 total appearances for the Reds, with 66 clean sheets, demonstrates just why we should keep him around.

That said, it comes with the proviso that he’s down with the idea too. At 31, with basically two seasons on the bench, and with the ability he still has, we wouldn’t begrudge him a move elsewhere if he really wanted it.

That very fact is why the Paul Joyce news was so heartening as it looked likely he would surely depart Anfield this season. Despite Alisson being able to retain the No. 1 for the next decade if he wants, Mignolet would still get opportunities in a congested, trophy-chasing season.

The FA Cup, the League Cup, the UEFA Super Cup, the Club World Cup, plus potentially being called upon in the nightmare event of injury for the Premier League and the Champions League: the chances are there for Mignolet.

While some may still argue that the Reds can attract the signing of a better second-choice ‘keeper than Mignolet; like with most back-up issues, attracting experienced and skilled deputies, willing to warm the bench is not an easy task in this market.

In Mignolet, we have a ready-made, professional, and unselfish understudy who can essentially be relied upon to step up if needed.

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