This season, Simon Mignolet has been exposed. His performances for Liverpool have been unacceptable, and an own goal in Tuesday's game against Leicester City has only magnified the attention on his struggles.
Earlier this year, Jamie Carragher argued that the finger could be pointed at Simon Mignolet for Liverpool's failure to win the league. He said: "Everyone always talks about Steven Gerrard slipping and costing Liverpool the league and you can never look at one individual and one mistake, but Demba Ba still had to go through.
"'You’re looking at your 'keeper and thinking: 'Come on, win us the league. Make that save that’s going to be a defining moment in the season'."
Carragher's opinion seems harsh at face value. However, I think it is justified by the following statements:
“Against Manchester City Liverpool lost 2-1 [from a Negredo winner] and if he’d made the save from Negredo then that’s two points off City and another one for Liverpool."
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"I think of Joe Hart. After the Chelsea game, Man City had a tough game at Everton and they won 3-2. Joe Hart had to make a save from Naismith, flicking his left hand out and that wins them the league."
With this taken into account, I think that Carragher's criticisms of Mignolet are entirely fair. If Liverpool had a 'keeper of the caliber of Hart in goal, they would have won the league - plain and simple.
Reds alumni rally
Carragher is not the only Anfield alumni unimpressed with the Belgian. Liverpool legend and former goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar is another, and in a recent interview with BBC sport, he stated that: "I was slaughtered last year by Liverpool fans saying that I was being too harsh on him… [I wasn't] being too harsh on him, not at all.”
The South African noticed errors in Mignolet's game before they became clear for all to see. Grobbelaar makes the point that Mignolet's ability was never questioned last season as it was covered up.
Grobbelaar offers a sound explanation for Mignolet's supposed loss of ability over summer - it was never there. It was merely "masked" by Liverpool's ability to outscore their opponent. Let's face facts - when you come second in the most competitive league in the world, whilst conceding 52 goals, something is wrong.
Suarez and Sturridge went above and beyond the call of duty, in order to ensure league silverware. 'SAS' had countless match-winning goals to their names. Countless big match-winning goals to their names - but how many match winning saves did Mignolet have? Not enough.
Mignolet to blame?
His failure to make these saves has been made abundantly clear this season. In a Liverpool side that looks unrecognisable to last year, Mignolet's inadequacy has been exposed.
Thanks to the benefit of hindsight - and analysis from a couple of Liverpool legends - it is clear to see that it wasn't Gerrard's slip that cost Liverpool the league. It was Mignolet's constant slip ups.
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