|Date of Birth||
6 March 1988
|Place of Birth||
1.93 m (6'4")
Simon Mignolet (born 6 March 1988) is a Belgian footballer who was a goalkeeper for Liverpool for six years between 2013 and 2019.
After the conclusion of the 2012-13 season, with speculation rife that long-time number one goalkeeper Pepe Reina was set for a move to Spanish giants Barcelona, Liverpool moved for the highly-rated Sunderland shot-stopper Simon Mignolet. The deal was confirmed on 25 June 2013 for a fee believed to be £9,000,000 with an additional £1,000,000 in bonuses- although some report the fee in excess of £11,000,000. Mignolet penned a five-year deal at Liverpool, becoming the first Belgian to represent the club. Despite the initial speculation, manager Brendan Rodgers was insistent that Mignolet was signed to provide competition for Reina, rather than to replace the Spaniard, and Reina himself was quick to welcome Mignolet to the club. It became clear that Mignolet would in fact be Liverpool's new number one goalkeeper however, when Pepe Reina joined Napoli on loan on 29 July 2013. On 27 June 2013, it was confirmed that Mignolet had been handed the no. 22 jersey for the 2013-14 season.
Mignolet made his non-competitive debut for Liverpool on 13 July 2013 in an away preseason tie against Preston. He played the first 80 minutes of the game. On 17 August 2013, Mignolet made his competitive debut for the Reds as he lined up in the opening day 1-0 victory over Stoke. Mignolet's shining moment came in the 87th minute, when he saved a Jonathan Walters penalty and the follow up shot from Kenwyne Jones to preserve Liverpool's 1-0 lead. Mignolet conceded his first Premier League goals for the club in Liverpool's fourth match of the season, as the Reds drew 2-2 away at Swansea on 16 September 2013. His performances led him to become the Standard Chartered Player of the Month for September 2013.
Mignolet made his first high-profile mistake on 26 December 2013, misjudging the flight of a shot from Alvaro Negredo as Liverpool lost 2-1 at Manchester City. He again errored in Liverpool's next match, as he failed to keep out Samuel Eto'o's weak shot in a 2-1 defeat at Chelsea, although he did produce impressive saves from Eto'o and Frank Lampard.
Although the season ended with the Reds finishing as runners-up in the League to Man City, Liverpool conceded 50 goals during the campaign, which led to scrutiny over the Reds' back four and Mignolet himself- with most of the criticism levelled at him centering on his handling of the ball.
In Liverpool's 2014-15 pre-season, on 30 July 2014, Mignolet claimed a starring role in Liverpool's penalty shootout win over Man City as he saved spot kicks from Yaya Toure and Jesus Navas. On 17 August 2014, he produced a number of reflex saves to help Liverpool win their opening match of the season against Southampton- the Reds recording a 2-1 win at Anfield. Following Liverpool's 1-0 home defeat to Aston Villa on 13 September 2014, Mignolet was criticised by Brendan Rodgers for failing to show enough command- a criticism levelled at him by many others during his time to date at the club.
On 23 September 2014, Mignolet faced 16 penalties in Liverpool's League Cup clash against Middlesbrough at Anfield- 15 in the penalty shootout after the match had ended 2-2. Mignolet saved one whilst another was missed to hand Liverpool a 14-13 victory. Mignolet himself netted one of Liverpool's penalties.
As Liverpool's early season form- and particularly their defensive displays faultered, Mignolet continued to attract much criticism from the fans. On 26 November 2014 in the Reds' Champions League tie away to Ludogorets, Mignolet spilled a shot that allowed striker Dani to put the Bulgarian side 1-0 up. Despite the match finishing 2-2, Brendan Rodgers publicly demanded an immediate improvement from Mignolet. Ex-Reds keeper Bruce Grobbelaar, who had criticised Mignolet at the end of the previous season, gave an interview in which he was especially denegrating about Mignolet, suggesting he was the biggest factor behind Liverpool's poor results, particularly focusing on Mignolet's reluctance to come off of his line and command the penalty area.
Mignolet responded with a clean sheet in Liverpool's next game- a 1-0 home win over Stoke City- in which he produced a number of fine reflex saves. His performance drew praise from Brendan Rodgers. In the next game- away to Leicester on 2 December 2014- Mignolet was unfortunate to be credited with an own goal, as a shot from Leonardo Ulloa hit the post but rebounded off the back of Mignolet into the net.
Eventually, criticism of Mignolet reached a head, and prior to Liverpool's tie against Manchester United at Old Trafford on 14 December 2014, Brendan Rodgers elected to drop the Belgian "indefinitely" in favour of Brad Jones. Mignolet returned to the team on 26 December 2014, coming on as a substitute in Liverpool's away match against Burnley, courtesy of a thigh injury to Jones.
In the coming games, Brendan Rodgers switched Liverpool's system to utilise a back three. With it, Liverpool's defensive performances improved markedly and Mignolet appeared to grow in confidence. After Liverpool's 2-0 win over Aston Villa on 18 January 2015, Rodgers praised Mignolet as looking "more like a Liverpool goalkeeper."
Mignolet's revival continued apace and, with a man of the match display in Liverpool's 2-0 win at Southampton on 22 February 2015, Mignolet secured five consecutive away clean sheets in the League- the first time Liverpool had achieved the feat since 1985. He made it six in a row- a 40 year old Liverpool record- with another man of the match performance away to Swansea on 16 March 2015 as the Reds won 1-0. A week later, Mignolet saved a Wayne Rooney penalty in a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United.
At the end of the season, Mignolet had kept 13 Premier League clean sheets, leaving him runner up for the Golden Glove award.
The Belgian had a good start to the 2015-16 season, keeping clean sheets in the opening three games, including difficult away trips to Stoke and Arsenal. However, the Reds went on to concede three goals in each of their next two games, at home to West Ham, and away to Manchester United.
On 17 September 2015, Mignolet made his 100th appearance for the club, starting in a Europa League tie away to Bordeaux. The Belgian couldn't keep a clean sheet however, as the Reds drew 1-1. Three days later, Mignolet punched a cross straight into the path of Russell Martin, who scored the equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Norwich.
On 26 November 2015, Mignolet made a massive error in a Europa League tie against Bordeaux at Anfield. The Belgian held onto the ball in open play for 21 seconds, 15 seconds more than the rule allows. This led to an indirect free kick being given in the penalty area, which the French side converted, giving them the lead. However, Liverpool came from behind to win 2-1.
After a 1-0 win at his former club Sunderland on 30 December 2015, Mignolet picked up his 16th clean sheet in 2015, more than any other goalkeeper in the League. On 13 January 2016, Mignolet was seen to be at fault for two Arsenal goals in a 3-3 draw at Anfield. The first was a low shot at the Belgian's near post, while the second was a deflection from a corner that went through Mignolet's legs at the near post. However, less than a week later it was confirmed that Mignolet had signed a new contract up until 2021. On 23 January 2016, Mignolet started in a 5-4 win at Norwich, with the Canaries scoring 4 from 5 shots on target.
On 26 January 2016, Mignolet saved two penalties in the shootout to decide which team would play in the 2016 League Cup Final, after a 1-1 aggregate draw with Stoke. The Belgian went the right way on 6 out of the 7 Stoke penalties. On 6 February 2016, Mignolet was again judged to be at fault for a goal, this time to make it 2-1 against Sunderland at home, failing to save a relatively soft freekick. The away side then equalised with minutes to go.
On 28 February 2016, Mignolet started in the 2016 League Cup Final, and had a very hot and cold game. Just after half time, Mignolet allowed a shot from Fernandinho to slide right through him, almost moving out of the way of the ball, giving Man City the lead. However, he went on to make several great saves to keep the Reds in the game, and dived the right way on each penalty in the shootout. Unfortunately, the Reds lost the shootout 3-1. Three days later, Mignolet made his 100th league appearance for the club, and kept a clean sheet in a 3-0 win over Manchester City.
While Liverpool were 2-0 up against Newcastle on 23 April 2016, Mignolet came out to deal with a cross, but completely missed the ball, allowing Papiss Cisse to head into the empty net. This started off a Newcastle comeback, and the game finished 2-2.
On 14 August 2016, Mignolet made his 150th appearance for the club, starting in a 4-3 win at Arsenal. The Belgian saved Theo Walcott's penalty while the score was 0-0. However with new signing Loris Karius returning from injury, Mignolet was relegated to second choice goalkeeper, featured mainly in the League Cup games.
On 14 December 2016 however, Mignolet returned to the starting lineup in the Premier League for the first time since September, and kept a clean sheet in a 3-0 win at Middlesbrough. Jurgen Klopp stated that there was "no time-frame" for the Belgian's starting position. Five days later, Mignolet kept a second consecutive clean sheet in a 1-0 win away to Everton.
However, after a one win in eleven for the first-team, with Mignolet making big mistakes against Chelsea and Hull City it was reported that Klopp was set to bring Karius back into the starting XI. Despite this speculation, Mignolet kept his place for the next game and kep a clean sheet in a 2-0 win over Tottenham.
On 8 April 2017, Mignolet was named man-of-the-match in a 2-1 win at Stoke, after making multiple world class saved to keep the Reds in the game. The Reds finished the season strongly with four clean sheets in their final four games, with Mignolet consolidating his place in the starting lineup.
Mignolet once again began the new season as Reds’ number one, starting in a 3-3 opening day draw at Watford. On 15 August 2017, Mignolet saved a vital penalty in a 2-1 win at Hoffenheim in the Champions League playoff. He repeated this feat a few weeks later, this time in a 3-2 win at Leicester. This meant he had saved five of his last six penalties faced. On 22 October 2017, Mignolet flapped at a cross, allowing Harry Kane to score Tottenham's fourth in a 4-1 win, causing the Belgian to undergo a lot of criticism. Despite this, he kept his place in the next game, keeping a clean-sheet in a 3-0 win over Huddersfield.
On 22 December 2018, Mignolet allowed a Granit Xhaka strike to pass through his fingers as Liverpool surrendered a 2-0 lead to draw 3-3 away to Arsenal. He kept his place however, in a 5-0 win over Swansea in the next game. Less than two weeks later however, Loris Karius started in an FA Cup win over Everton, and Jurgen Klopp confirmed that the German would remain as the first-choice keeper for the foreseeable future. Mignolet made just one more appearance for the rest of the campaign, starting in a 3-2 defeat at home to West Brom, in the FA Cup.
After being displaced from the lineup, Mignolet expressed his disappointment, and was expected to leave ahead of the 2018-19 season. Despite this, the Belgian rejected any offers to leave the club due to wage demands.
On 26 September 2018, Mignolet made his first appearance in eight months, starting in a 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea in the League Cup. He made only one more appearance for the rest of the campaign, a defeat to Wolves in the FA Cup. At the end of the season, Mignolet was named on the subsitutes bench for the 2019 Champions League Final, and earned a winners medal with the Reds' 2-0 victory over Tottenham, his first trophy since he arrived at the club.
On 5 August 2019, it was confirmed that Mignolet had left the club after six years, moving to Club Brugge for around £6,400,000.
Mignolet left the club a European Cup winner, having made 204 appearances in his time at the club.
- UEFA Champions League: 1 (2019)
- Standard Chartered Player of the Month: 1 (September 2013)
|Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other||Total|