Simon Mignolet has been a player transformed in the last few months. His future at Liverpool appeared to be in major doubt after being dropped to the bench after a string of disappointing performances towards the end of 2014.
This high-profile absence from the team lasted for a couple of weeks before the former Sunderland goalkeeper regained his first-team spot from Brad Jones. The Australian did extremely well in the absence of Mignolet, but he did concede three goals against United when the two teams met each other at Old Trafford. Come the reverse fixture at Anfield, Mignolet is expected to keep his place in the starting line-up.
He says that being dropped did a world of good to his form, as it helped him wake up. There was a hint of complacency from the Belgium in the early part of the season, but it appears to have all gone away. The club has conceded only one goal in the last four matches and it was against reigning league champions Manchester City. Liverpool have done great work in 2015 to remain in the hunt for a top four place, but Mignolet knows that the job will be complete only if the Reds keep on winning. A victory for United will put them five points clear of Liverpool.
“At that time, it gave me a chance to reflect on my game, something you don’t really have the chance to when you are playing two games a week.You are going in from the game, then after the game you are thinking about recovery, you are analysing the last performance and preparing for the next performance. You don’t really have the chance to think about things to improve, and that gave me the chance – it was only two weeks because of the injury to Brad – it gave me the time to sit down with the coaches and the gaffer,” said Mignolet.