With the signing of Mignolet from Sunderland confirmed, Goal's Shikharr Chandra looks as to how this could help in putting some much needed pressure on Pepe Reina..
By Shikharr Chandra
It seems that Brendan Rodgers is taking a stand to correct the mistakes that had been plaguing Liverpool for the past few years, especially during the transfer seasons. Having already completed the signings of Kolo Toure, Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto, the Reds also confirmed the signing of young Belgian goalkeeper Simon Mignolet from Sunderland. The 24 year old signed a long term contract for the Merseysiders for a fee worth £9m.
Pepe Reina has been the undisputed number one at Liverpool ever since 2005 and even though the club has had options in Brad Jones and Jerzy Dudek (left for Real Madrid in 2007), none of them have really threatened his spot in the team.
Reina is a rumoured transfer target for both Arsenal and Barcelona, although the latter might look to pursue their interest next season with Victor Valdes preferring to see out his contract.
While Reina is known for his excellent distribution of the ball, his form has dipped lately and hence has been the subject of criticism from all quarters.
|Simon Mignolet stats 2012/13 season
|Games per clean sheet- 3.5
Goals conceded per game- 1.4
Minutes per save- 23
Save %- 73
Missed crosses- 3
Saves in box %- 68
Clear chance save %- 43
One of the key problems for Liverpool last season was that although they have dominated a game for most periods, the opponents have still managed to grind out a result. More often than not, it was the strike force who failed to capitalise on the chances created as opposed to Reina being the guilty party.
The Spanish goalkeeper averaged a save percentage of 28, the fourth lowest in the league as compared to 44% of Simon Mignolet. One of Reina's major problems has been his inability to deal with crosses. The Spaniard missed 10 crosses last season compared to 3 by Mignolet.
Having waited so long to find a replacement for players previously, Mignolet's transfer may be shrewd business by the club who might lose Reina as soon as next summer, even though he has a contract till 2016. Liverpool's lack of options and squad depth was one of the key factors behind them failing to push for a top 4 berth and with the early transfers this season, Rodgers seems to be hard at work repairing this flaw.
With the World Cup coming in 12 months time, Mignolet would be all charged up to cement a first team spot for Belgium and a move to a big club is something the former Sunderland goalkeeper requires to keep Chelsea's on-loan goalkeeper Thiabaut Courtois at bay. However, for that warming the bench is not an option for Mignolet and he has to prove his credentials.
There is no secret that Reina is held in a very high regard by Liverpool and its fans but with Mignolet's transfer completed, this could be in for a very long battle for the #1 jersey.
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