To mention Simon Mignolet and Cruyff turn in the same sentence may seem ludicrous, but the Liverpool goalkeeper was full of tricks in Thursday’s Europa League tie against Borussia Dortmund.
The Belgian pulled off not one, but two impressive Cruyff turns in the first half of Liverpool’s 1-1 draw in Germany. The most impressive of the two left Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the floor.
Clearly impressed with his own skills, the Belgian retweeted both pieces of skill on Twitter. Scroll down the page to watch Mignolet channel his inner Johan Cruyff.
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Liverpool earned an impressive 1-1 draw at the Westfalenstadion and, on close reflection, could have even won the game. Divock Origi gave Jurgen Klopp’s side an important away goal before Mats Hummels equalised.
The Dortmund team that tore Tottenham Hotspur to shreds in the quarter-final was nowhere to be seen, instead replaced by a timid side that posed little real threat to Mignolet’s goal.
Mignolet pays tribute to Johan Cruyff
Dortmund’s Roman Weidenfeller, on the other hand, was kept busy throughout and made a superb stop to deny Philippe Coutinho in the second half.
Jurgen Klopp said the 35-year-old put in a “perfect performance”, and without him, Dortmund could easily be trailing heading into next week’s return leg.
Klopp: "It's still 50-50"
Despite Origi’s away goal - which means Thomas Tuchel’s side must score in the return leg to have any chance of reaching the last-four Klopp still thinks the tie remains evenly split.
“We saw the game – it’s still 50-50,” the Liverpool boss said, per the club’s website.
“Dortmund don’t care too much where they play and where they score goals. Of course they’re still in a very good position.
“But I think it was very important for us to show this Liverpool face. A lot of people thought a lot of things about our probable or possible performance, and maybe they are a little bit surprised. I’m really happy with the performance.
“The away goal is good and much better than a 0-0, 100 per cent better. But we have to play at our best in the rematch to go through. Nothing is decided. That’s good for all supporters and all people who love football; it will be another really tight clash and I’m looking forward to it.”
Was Mignolet reckless or a genius?
Klopp didn’t comment on Mignolet’s Cruyff turns but one imagines the ‘keeper’s exploits left the 48-year-old with his heart in his mouth.
It’s one thing to pull off one trick, but to attempt it again borders on reckless. The 28-year-old rarely exudes confidence but at the Westfalenstadion last night, he was one of the most relaxed figures on the pitch.
That bodes well for his future, especially considering that Liverpool have been linked with Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
But Liverpool fans won’t mind seeing Mignolet simply clear the ball, either.