By Matt Farr
Sander Westerveld believes Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet deserves ‘all the credit’ for his much-improved recent form.
Mignolet, 29, has bore the brunt of criticism from Liverpool fans since his arrival at the club in 2013, and has suffered from another inconsistent season as the club’s No.1
The Belgium international was replaced in the starting eleven at the start of the season by summer signing Loris Karius, and ex-Liverpool stopper Westerveld admitted it looked ‘difficult’ for him to ‘get back in’.
However, after being reinstated to the first-team Mignolet has excelled, and has established new-found consistency and reliability into his game.
He has kept clean sheets in each of his last three Premier League appearances, and Westerveld insists he deserves a lot of credit.
He told the Liverpool Echo: “I’ve got to give Simon all the credit. I think he’s got better and better with every game since he returned to the side.
“It’s not easy being the Liverpool goalkeeper. The spotlight is always on you. Of course he lost his place to Karius and at that stage it looked like it would be difficult for him to get back in.
“But he didn’t moan, he just got on with the job and waited for his chance. What he has shown is a lot of character – a real fighting spirit. He has improved in every area and is so consistent now.”
Mignolet’s recent resurgence looks to have played a pivotal role as Liverpool lie on the brink of a return to the Champions League ahead of next season.
The Merseyside giants are currently fourth in the Premier League, and need a win over Middlesbrough on the final day to guarantee themselves a top-four finish, with Arsenal just a point behind.
Westerveld suffered his own fall from grace during his Anfield days, making 75 appearances for the club across three seasons.
He had been the undisputed No.1 throughout much of his Liverpool career, but swiftly found himself on the discard pile as the club acquired to new goalkeepers in Jerzy Dudek and Chris Kirkland.
In other Liverpool news, ex-Reds star Vladimir Smicer has revealed what decision by the club has angered him.