When it was announced on Monday afternoon that error-prone goalkeeper Simon Mignolet had signed a new five-and-a-half-year contract at Anfield, many jaws hit the floor. A polarising figure at the best of times, the Belgian stopper has recently experienced a string of high-profile mistakes.
It was revealed by WhoScored.com in December that Mignolet, who was named the club's 2014-15 Player of the Year, has made the most errors leading to goals since the start of the 2013-14 season. This includes failing to collect a corner last month against West Brom, allowing Craig Dawson to poke home an equaliser. At home to Norwich, Mignolet did make a punch but it was weak and landed straight at Russell Martin, who duly scored.
Between those incidents, the 27-year-old infamously held the ball for 22 seconds against Bordeaux, leading the referee to award a rarely-seen indirect free kick. Henri Saivet punished him by scoring. Additionally, since WhoScored's findings, Mignolet was twice beaten at his near-post during last week's thrilling 3-3 draw with Arsenal.
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Yet the £9 million signing from Sunderland kept the most Premier League clean sheets in 2015, his 16 edging ahead of Joe Hart's 15 and David de Gea's 12. Furthermore, only Hart has more clean sheets than Mignolet since the 2013-14 season began. Sure, he's conceded the third highest number of goals in that time but that's because he's played so often.
But the errors are concerning. He has the most punched-away crosses in that time (80), showing his inadequacy at catching the ball. In fact, whilst the data showed that most goalkeepers catch crosses over twice as often as punching them, Mignolet is the only 'keeper who opted to catch less.
Squawka revealed that his 494 saves over the past five seasons are more than any other in the Premier League, although that could be due to regular football and playing down at the bottom with Sunderland.
Understandably, Liverpool have been linked with some goalkeepers of late - Timo Horn, Jack Butland and Salvatore Sirigu but Jurgen Klopp has made a statement by tying Mignolet down until 2021 when he still had years remaining. Is it all just a confidence ploy, a leap of faith by the German?
And Liverpool fans - with Mignolet, which side of the fence do you fall on? Let us know if you rate him, or think the contract itself was an error.
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