By Alex Stevens
Simon Mignolet has claimed that it is “unacceptable” for him to be on the Liverpool substitute’s bench as he plots a return to the first team.
The goalkeeper, 28, is frustrated at playing second fiddle to Loris Karius, who was installed as the Anfield number one in mid-September after recovering from a broken hand at the start of the campaign.
The summer signing from Mainz has started Liverpool’s last six Premier League matches and manager Jurgen Klopp has admitted that he now regards the German as his number one.
Mignolet admits that he is not happy with having to make do with a place on the bench, but has ruled out leaving Liverpool in January.
“I’ve never been on the bench in my career,” Mignolet told Belgian broadcaster Limburg TV, as quoted by This is Anfield. “I don’t want that and I won’t accept it either. I will keep fighting to return as the first-choice goalkeeper.
“It’s not right [to suggest leaving Liverpool] – that’s for the future. I am fully focused on Liverpool.”
Mignolet began the season in goal but his only appearance since the 2-1 win at Chelsea in mid-September came in the League Cup victory over Tottenham on 25 October.
This is a new situation for the Belgium international, who has been the established number since arriving from Sunderland in the summer of 2013, bar a brief spell when Brad Jones replaced him two years ago.
Nevertheless, Mignolet has frequently been criticised for his performances, particularly his command of the box, and Klopp signed competition in the shape of Karius in the summer.
Football Insider verdict:
With a title challenge on the horizon, it would be ludicrous for Liverpool to allow Mignolet to leave in the January window, unless they sign another goalkeeper. The jury is still out on Karius, who has looked shaky in his seven appearances for the club to date, and Liverpool need an experienced campaigner as back-up. The Merseysiders also hold the aces, as Mignolet signed a new contract in January that runs until the summer of 2021. The Belgian’s nose has been pushed out of joint but he will just have to buckle down, be professional and keep pushing Karius hard. Liverpool can then make a decision next summer about Mignolet’s long-term position.
In other Liverpool news, the club’s fans have reacted on Twitter as a 19-year-old returns to training.