Liverpool face West Ham United in the Premier League this Saturday. The Reds are in good form at the moment, but would definitely be disappointed after crashing out of the Capital One Cup as they lost out to Chelsea in the semi final on Tuesday. But their performances across the two legs got them widespread praise as the side looks menacing after a long time.
Brendan Rodgers praised Simon Mignolet who had an absolutely fantastic game against Chelsea. The Belgian has received a lot of criticism this season because of some truly terrible performances and he was also dropped in December. Injury to Brad Jones during the Boxing Day clash with Burnley meant that Mignolet returned to the starting line-up and over the last few games, the Belgian has put on some great performances.
“I think Simon has shown the benefits of having a little bit of time out,” Rodgers told reporters as he previewed the Reds’ clash with West Ham United.
“I think he looks like a different goalkeeper. It’s difficult because when you’re playing all the time and you’re preparing, sometimes you won’t get that chance to reflect on your performance.
“Of course, nowadays, if you take a player out, whether it’s through rest or through trying to look after the player and allowing him to develop, [people will say] he’s been ‘dropped’. And that’s not always the case.
“Simon’s spell out of the team was to just take a step back, to analyse his performance, to see areas in which he could improve and clear his mind, knowing that he was going to get the opportunity to go again. When he’s come back into the team, he’s been very clear and shown why we brought him here. He’s a wonderful shot-stopper. He’s starting to be more aggressive now with crosses.
“He’s probably just thinking less, and doing what he does naturally, which is be a top-class goalkeeper. He’s really starting to show the form as to why we brought him here and I’m delighted for him because he works really hard at his game.”
One month back, everyone thought Liverpool would be definitely getting a goalkeeper in the winter window but Mignolet’s improved form suggests the Reds will address this problem in the summer as they feel they can do better business then. Rodgers said he didn’t expect anything from this window.
“I would want to do one or two things [in the transfer market] but it’s not always possible. I don’t expect anything this window.”
Brendan Rodgers praised Liverpool’s defence and said that it was down to a collective effort,
“We’ve shown great resilience,” said the manager. “We always want to be really hard to play against, from a defensive pint of view, and then create chance sand score goals with the ball. I think our defending as a team has been very, very good.
“That’s been key for us in this last 16 or 17 games and the run that we’ve been on. It’s very important that you can defend as a team. It’s been impressive how resilient and the character the players have showed. Their tactical organisation as well. It’s been very pleasing.”