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Why Liverpool need good backup for Simon Mignolet

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Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet put in an inspired performance last week and helped his team in hanging on to all three points, just as he did in the opening game of last season against Stoke City. The Belgian showed excellent reflexes as he denied Southampton an equalizer late on.

Mignolet’s shot stopping abilities were never in doubt as he often comes out with brilliant saves, but where he lacks is in his distribution and decision making in set pieces. While there is no denying that he will get better with time, one does wonder who will replace him if he experiences a sudden drop in form as all goalkeepers do at some point in their career. And that’s when Brendan Rodgers will have to scratch his head as there isn’t a quality replacement in the squad.

It’s hard to find a quality keeper and make him the number two, as only one can play at a time. Quality keepers like Iker Casillas(for Real Madrid), Pepe Reina and Victor Valdes(for Spain) have been restricted to the bench at times, and have expressed their displeasure too, so signing a number two needs careful probe as you can risk losing the player with “lack of game time” being his prime reason.

Luckily, where Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers might succeed is signing Argentinian International Sergio Romero. Romero spent most of the time on the bench at Sampdoria and still made it to the Argentinian playing XI in the World Cup. So, the risk of losing Romero compared to other world class keepers is less if he does end up at Liverpool. And he isn’t the worst keeper to sing for the speculated fee either as he has had a good World Cup showing one of the most fundamental skills that is lacking in a lot of keepers – concentration.

KEEPER DISTRIBUTION ACCURACY AVG DISTRIBUTION LENGTH CATCHES PUNCHES SAVES
Simon Mignolet 69% 25m 2.24 0.76 1.97
Brad Jones 62% 47m 2.43 0.86 2.71
Sergio Romero 53% 44m 2.04 0.41 1.63

 

There is a downside to it as well; if you look at the stats of Mignolet and Romero, you’ll notice that both of them have poor distribution accuracy. Liverpool’s current second choice Brad Jones has a better distribution accuracy than Romero, and his overall stats are better too. However,  Jones has played in fewer games compared to Romero and certain stats do depend on the type of football Liverpool play. Besides, except for the game against Blackburn a few seasons ago, the Australian has been average whenever he has been called into action. Is he a keeper to have when you are challenging for the top 4 (at minimum) and playing in the best club competition after an absence of 5 years?

It does surprise everyone why Rodgers signed Mignolet, who has poor distribution, when he doesn’t suit the style of Liverpool! With the type of passing game Liverpool play, you obviously prefer someone like Pepe Reina who was brilliant with his feet and distribution. Set pieces too hasn’t been Mignolet’s strongest suit as he often flaps in them. So, if he goes out and buys Romero, then it’ll be understandable as Rodgers prefers a keeper with good shot stopping ability than other traits. One thing is certain, Liverpool fans will definitely prefer Romero instead of Jones based on what happened in the World Cup, and right now, it does seem like a good option.

 

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Liverpool plotting move to sign this Arsenal backroom staff member

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Gary O'Driscoll

Liverpool target Arsenal’s head of medical services – Gary O’Driscoll

Liverpool have identified Arsenal’s Gary O’Driscoll as the leading candidate to replace the outgoing Andrew Massey. (h/t Daily Mail)

Massey who is the current head of medical services at Liverpool will leave the club on March 1st to take up a position at FIFA.

Having been at the club for almost seven years, Massey has played a key role in the Reds being one of the fittest teams in the league.

O’Driscoll is widely recognized as being one of the best in his field and Arsenal are determined to keep him at the Emirates.

Gary O'Driscoll

Driscoll has been at Arsenal since 2009 and is one of the old guards who has survived various culls.

He has held lead positions with the British Lions and Ireland rugby team. He should now welcome the chance to work for the European and World Champions. (h/t Metro)

Hailing from Manchester, Driscoll could welcome a return to the North-West of England to Merseyside.

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Liverpool are an extremely well-run club both on and off the pitch. Driscoll should relish the ability to work with the Reds without having to worry about politics or unrest.

In Driscoll, Liverpool look to have found an excellent candidate to continue the work of Andrew Massey as the Reds prepare for life without the medical genius.

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Third Liverpool star shipped out on loan until the end of the season

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Isaac Christie-Davies

Isaac Christie-Davies joins Cercle Brugge until the end of the season

Liverpool striker Isaac Christie-Davies has joined Cercle Brugge on loan until the end of the season. (h/t Liverpoolfc)

Christie-Davies will now link-up with the Groen en Zwart at their winter training camp in Malta. He is the third Liverpool player to leave on loan this month following Herbie Kane and Rhian Brewster.

The 22-year-old joined Liverpool from Chelsea and made his debut last month in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals against Aston Villa.

Isaac Christie-Davies

Bernd Storck is the manager of Cercle Brugge, who gained promotion to Belgium’s top-flight last season.

The German coach was previously in charge of Royal Excel Mouscron, where Taiwo Awoniyi spent time on loan last season.

Cercle currently have 13 players on loan at the club. The Welshman’s versatility has seen him perform in midfield, on the wing and upfront for the Liverpool Under-23s this season. This could boost his chances of a starting berth.

Cercle are currently bottom of the Belgian top tier, seven points off their closest rivals Waasland-Beveren after taking just 11 from their opening 21 games.

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Cercle next play at home to Royal Antwerp on January 19 and should give Christie-Davies enough time to prepare for his possible debut.

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Liverpool striker returns from loan spell after scoring just 1 goal in 22 games

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liam millar

Liam Millar has been recalled by Liverpool from his loan at Kilmarnock

Liverpool youngster Liam Millar has returned to the club after cutting short his loan at Kilmarnock. (h/t Liverpoolfc)

The 20-year-old striker, who joined from Fulham in 2016, is yet to make his debut for the Merseysiders.

Millar signed a long-term first-team contract with Liverpool in January 2019 and joined Scottish Premiership side Kilmarnock on loan until the end of the 2018–19 season.

Liam Millar

He made his debut for Kilmarnock in a 2–1 loss to Hearts and scored his first goal a month later against St Mirren.

He returned on loan to Kilmarnock in August 2019 on a year-long loan which has now been cut short by the Reds.

The striker made 22 appearances for Kilmarnock this season, scoring just 1 goal. (h/t Whoscored)

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A versatile forward, Millar is capable of playing both upfront and on the left flank with equal proficiency.

Liverpool had also recalled Nathaniel Phillips from his loan at VfB Stuttgart to address the lack of cover at centre-back due to injuries.

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