2 Aug 2013

Aldo raves: 'Magnificent' €10m star will be a 'brilliant buy' for LFC. Premature...?

With four clean sheets in four appearances, Simon Mignolet's start to his Liverpool career is increasingly impressive, and Reds legend John Aldridge is convinced that the Belgian is the perfect choice to replace the outgoing Pepe Reina.

Discussing Liverpool's goalkeeping situation during a recent podcast, Aldo reiterated his admiration for Reina, but conceded that moving him on is the right decision. He explained:

"I’ve got so much respect for Pepe and what he did over the years.

"He wasn’t at his best over the last 2-3 years though, and he went a little bit stale.

"Last year, only the Stoke goalkeeper was better than Mignolet. I think he’s magnificent, and he’ll be a brilliant buy for Liverpool"

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is also impressed with Mignolet's form since arriving at Anfield, and during the recent pre-season tour, he gushed:

"Simon Mignolet has been outstanding in his early time here. He is young and fits the profile that I am looking for. You watch his game in training and you think that he was named North East Player of the Year"

Mignolet - who cost the Reds €10m - is obviously a quality 'keeper, but Aldo's praise is slightly excessive at this stage (IMO), and it's not entirely accurate to suggest that only Asmir Begovic exceeded the Belgian season. Let's look a the facts:

* Total saves: 149 (second best in the PL after Jussi Jääskeläinen).
* Clean sheets: 11 (6th best, behind Hart, Reina, Jääskeläinen, Cech and Begovic.
* Goals conceded: 54 (One of the worst in PL; 16 other goalkeepers conceded less)
* Penalties: 4 (none saved; 11 other 'keepers did better)

I don't see how a player who concedes more goals than 75% of the league's other goalkeepers can be considered one of the best performing in the league, and looking at the stats, it's clear that there are several other stoppers who performed better than Mignolet last season.

I don't doubt that Mignolet has the potential to be a top class goalkeeper, and I hope he takes Anfield by storm, but the exaggerated praise being heaped on his shoulders is - at this stage - arguably unwarranted, and could turn out to be counter-productive.

With Reina now gone, there is massive pressure on Mignolet to perform. Pre-season is one thing, but if he makes a glaring error in any of his first few competitive games for the club, the knives will inevitably be out for the Belgian.

Goalkeepers make mistakes, and I fully expect Mignolet to make a couple of howlers during the upcoming season, and whether they happen in the first game or the last doesn't really make a difference.

However, by constantly overpraising a player, anticipation spirals, expectations become unreasonable, and when errors inevitably occur, they seem much worse than they actually are. Consequently, the reaction is usually harsher than it needs to be, which can be a problem.

NOTE: Please stick to the Comment Policy (Click to read)


  1. Its premature but Mignolet does have the skill set to be a very successful PL goal keeper and who knows if he even might turn out to be world class, eh?

  2. I may be bias because i am a big fan of Mignolet and personally think he is a better keeper than Reina.
    But some of those stats can be misleading IMO.
    Being second best in the league in saves could be good but if he gets twice as many shots at him than everyone else then it could be bad.
    Same goes for goals conceded and clean sheets, Penalties on the other hand can only be down to the GK so that stat is fine.
    Im not sure if you have the stats availible but id be very interested to see the Shots/Saves ratio compared to Reina.
    Sunderland werent exactly the best team last season so im hoping it was just shotty defending that let him down.
    So premature? I HOPE NOT!

  3. I agree, you only have to look at De Gea to know what a fool you can look by praising up a pretty average keeper. Even Fergie looked a bit of a clown trying to defend him last year.

  4. I think your right Jk but you have to remember that his states should improve with a better back four in front of him in terms of his goals conceded and clean sheets. The only stay that would worry me slightly would be the penalty saves, not a big deal but could be in a crucial match at some point.

    Also Diego Costa could this guy be another south American with a chip on his shoulder his disciplinary record is not the best and he could be joking up with the Messiah of disciplinary record Mr Suarez. I'm not that impressed by his states and I think Lfc money could of been better spent on players such as the two young strikers Man City bought a few weeks back. Also on the why do we need Eriksen debate because we have Couthino what if gets injured we are stuck again with little creative force in the squad I would shell out the fee for the young dane and place him within the squad ASAP, great resale value for the banker boys FSG.

  5. I completely agree with your issue with over-praise. Rodgers use of the word outstanding bugs the hel out of me, because it renders it meaningless. We currently have two outstanding players and if anyone else wants that description they need to consistently match the performance levels of Downing and Allen ;-)

  6. Sometimes a goal keeper can only be as good as the defence in front of him. If you have a poor defence, then more shots will come his way, and will eventually start to go in. Mignolet at Sunderland didn't have top defenders in front of him, so its harder to keep clean sheets, but now he has IMO better defenders in front of him, he will do better.

    I don't think he has really been tested much yet though, and the proper tests wont come until the league starts. But its a promising sign.

  7. Suarez, Gerrard, Coutinho, Sturridge, Agger and Sterling are all outstanding.

  8. I agree, you can over praise a little too much. Look at DeGea, Fergie looked a bit of a clown trying to defend some of his performances last season.

  9. Disagree. Players are not perpetually outstanding; all of the above have off-games and make mistakes, and should only be praised as 'outstanding' sparingly. As Phil says, if you use the word constantly, it loses its meaning. Also, if the likes of Mignolet and Coutinho are already 'outstanding' and 'magnficent', where do the they go from here? It sounds like they've arrived, and don't need to improve, when continuous improvement and consistent performance should be the main goal.

  10. I agree, you should be more specific with the praise. Saying someone had an outstanding game, is completely different to saying they are outstanding.
    I don't think Mignolet has done anything in particular to warrant being called outstanding yet.

  11. Suarez and Gerrard definitely, Coutinho and Sterling hopefully will be but a bit early to grant them this status just yet and as much as I like Agger does he stand out from other premier league centre backs?

  12. Yawn. Do you really have so little in your life that you are bothered by a word used by the manager?

    IMO, you consistently slag of LFC. If you did it more sparingly it might be possible to forget your a Manure supporter.

  13. Premature is an understatement. Mignolet has the skill but can he handle the over hyped expectation of the supporters? Fingers crossed

  14. Funny that. Even the players are calling him outstanding.

  15. Didn't he get voted best keeper in the PL last season?

  16. Why else are Barca after him?

  17. 1.simon faced 207 shots whereas pepe faced 109 shots
    2.simon had 11 clean sheets , pepe had 14
    3.simon saved 72% shots on target , pepe saved 67%
    4.simon failed to claim 3 crosses whereas pepe failed to claim 10
    5.simon made 38 appearances whereas pepe made 31

  18. Fair enough. I'm a fan of him too. I just would reserve "outstanding"for truly great players. I certainly hope he stays - has he got the vice captain role yet? Seems like the best way to fend off Barca

  19. Mignolet conceded a lot due to the terrible defense he had in front of him,he was the man responsible for keeping Sunderland in the prem without a doubt. Rate him highly but will give my overall opinion when he's played a few competitive matches for us.

  20. Who knows how Mignolet will perform this season, hopefully very well, but as you say more than likely he'll make a fair few mistakes as most keepers inevitably do. However, a bit of encouragement, whilst appreciating your point that going overboard can be counterproductive, can help with a young player's confidence no end, especially with keepers.

    And before you judge Mignolet, or any player for that matter, primarily on stats, just remember that no statistic tells the whole story. They're all open to interpretation. While 75% of premier league goalkeepers may well have conceded less goals last season, you could just as easily argue that 75% of teams in the premier league had better outfield players playing in front of their goalkeepers than sunderland did, and therefore regardless of the stats you could still argue he was the second best keeper in the league with justification.

    Stats are very useful, but they cannot be used as the sole analysis of any player in a team sport, where so many variables are not quantifiable, as I'm sure you're very aware.

  21. Yes the praise is premature, but the kid cant help what people are saying about him. All he can do is go out and try to keep clean sheets which is what he has done.
    I like him and think he will succeed. His biggest test will not be whether or not he makes mistakes, because he will like every other player on the pitch, the test will be how he deals with these mistakes. Will he hang his head and go missing, or up his game and determination to make up for these mistakes. This is the mentality that seperates good keepers from the really great ones.
    I hope the kid has got it.

  22. costa, saurez, aspas and maybe papa, jk's dream come true, hope your fingers dont fall off.

  23. Anyone know any news on Jorginho? i saw we bid on him and then i heard everton wanted him.
    Also how many LB's are we gonna be linked to? Today ive seen us linked to another one today, Surely if it was just for cover Robinson/Johnson would have done till Jan

  24. I think MIGNOLET has been the best purchase we've made.I hope i'm not saying the same thing when the windows shut!

  25. lets just hope mingolet,dose not go the same way as so many of our goalkeepers since grobs,lets hope he can handle the pressure

  26. Mig is one of those people who have a cool and collected mind...he'll handle the added pressure alright I think :)

  27. I also think he will be good for us. I dont think he is better than Reina, but he is a good keeper and is better in some areas than Reina and worse in others. However he has time to make the worse areas better.

  28. hope so ,we all thought the other keepers could cope .and they turned to jelly

  29. How is it premature when he has already been so called Premier League proven ??? Every team, fans and coaches props their new signings why is wrong now??

  30. looking at those stats i forgot what was good about him in the first place.....

  31. apparently everton are trying to sign him

  32. well penalties wise he isnt too inspiring at least reina had 40
    % save chance

  33. Marios Bouyioukkas4:17 pm, August 09, 2013

    Something had to be done.Last season we had one of the best scoring records but we finished 7th..The reason was easy to spot : goals conceded.Too many goals were conceded due to goalkeeping errors.
    Reina was flapping and unfortunately we didn't have adequate cover-Sorry I call it as I see it-.Personally I feel a lot more confident with Mignolet
    between the posts.