“I felt I had to change it because we have to find solutions throughout the squad to be better. I said to Simon that it’s for an indefinite period.”
Those were the words of Brendan Rodgers in December after Simon Mignolet was dropped for Liverpool’s visit to Old Trafford. It represented the culmination of a catastrophic run of form for the Belgian No.2, who’d been dubbed “worse than Dracula” by club legend Bruce Grobbelaar. The Transylvanian vampire at least came out of his coffin – Mignolet stayed rooted to his goal-line.
Thankfully for the Belgian, his replacement was Brad Jones, a 33-year-old reserve goalkeeper who’s made only 109 league appearances in his 13 seasons as a professional footballer. The Australian conceded five goals from nine shots on target in the club’s next two league fixtures, before a thigh injury sustained at Burnley on Boxing Day cut short his sojourn in the first team, granting Mignolet a stay of execution.
Since completing 75 minutes at Turf Moor, Mignolet has conceded only 12 times in 15 league games, keeping nine clean sheets – including a club record six consecutive shutouts on the road.