SportSoccer

Mignolet back to his best for Liverpool

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Simon Mignolet firmly established as Liverpool No.1 once more
Simon Mignolet firmly established as Liverpool No.1 once more

Liverpool and their Belgian goalkeeper Simon Mignolet endured a miserable start to the season, but both are not back on track ahead of Sunday's huge game against Manchester United at Anfield.

Mignolet's Liverpool career appeared to be hanging by a thread when he was dropped "indefinitely" by boss Brendan Rodgers, but he has emerged as a star of their recent revival.

A sixth successive away day clean sheet for Mignolet in the Premier League set up a vital win at Swansea on Monday night and he is convinced the Reds can now finish the season on a high.  

Liverpool have not lost in the league since a 3-0 defeat at United on December 14 when the stuttering Mignolet was dropped and replaced by Brad Jones.

Yet the Belgian soon reclaimed his place and both he and Liverpool have gone from strength to strength ever since, the Merseysiders now unbeaten in 13 league games and Rodgers insisting they can catch second-placed Manchester City who are currently four points better off than his men.

United's visit on Sunday might go a long way to determining if that ambition is feasible but Mignolet insists Liverpool have to focus solely on themselves and not their rivals for a top-four spot.

"This win sets up the next game and that's a big game of course," said Mignolet.

"But we don't have to make too much of it, there's three points there and we have to try to do our best to get the win at home.

"We just have to look at our own performances, there's no point in looking at the other teams, and keep doing what we've been doing in the last few months.

"We've still got all the big teams to play but the important thing is we don't look too forward ahead of ourselves."

Mignolet does not resemble the goalkeeper who visibly appeared anxious and made regular mistakes during the first half of the season.

As well as his precious first-half saves at the Liberty Stadium he was commanding in the air and punched well under pressure, but he puts his impressive record down to those in front of him.

"As a goalkeeper you're depending on the rest of the team to keep those clean sheets," he added.

"You can't do that on your own and that's what's pleasing.

"Everybody's doing their job, is organised and that makes life easy for a goalkeeper.

"We had to fight at Swansea to get through to 0-0 at half-time but the second half we got the goal and that came with putting a lot more pressure on the ball."