When Phil Jagielka scored an absolute screamer in stoppage-time to give Everton a share of the spoils at Anfield in September, all one could do was stand up and applaud. The centre-back smashed a 30-yard volley past Simon Mignolet and broke Liverpool hearts right at the end.
In his post-match review on Sky Sports though, Gary Neville made a very interesting and, to most, surprising analysis. The former Manchester United right-back claimed that Mignolet should have, in fact, saved Jagielka’s shot. He went on to illustrate how the ball ended up nowhere near the top corner and how the Belgian goalie’s starting position was all wrong. He also showed the videos of goals he had conceded last season in a similar way to further drive his point.
Gary Neville’s analysis can be seen here:
Even if Neville’s point here is quite debatable, there is no doubt about the fact that Mignolet’s performances since joining the Reds last summer has not been at the level that they should be. He is undoubtedly a good shot-stopper, but his positioning and decision-making at times has cost Liverpool dearly. Last season, in games against fellow title-contenders like Manchester City and Arsenal, he let in goals which he should have saved. In the end, the Reds missed out on the title by the thinnest of margins.
Of late, Mignolet has been dropped by Brendan Rodgers and replaced by Brad Jones. For a top-level club like Liverpool hoping to fight for trophies though, neither of these goalkeepers is the answer. They need someone who can make the difference when it truly matters, make a save other can’t, and consistently perform without dropping a clanger.
The solution to their problem may be found in West London, on the bench at Chelsea. Petr Cech, one of the Premier League’s greatest ever goalkeepers, is no longer first-choice at Stamford Bridge and there have been lots of talks of a potential exit either in January or next summer.
Cech’s agent Viktor Kolar has ruled out a move next month, but has said that he expects a whole host of clubs, including Liverpool to fight for the Czech at the end of the season.
Kolar said: “It’s unlikely Petr will leave Chelsea in the January transfer window. The club and coach want to keep him to help win the title. I think Arsenal should have made an offer to him. I think Petr would be considering it.
“Liverpool need to strengthen their position in goal and they know Petr will be available in the summer.
It is vital for Liverpool to try and get this deal done. Cech is still only 32 and has a good 4-5 seasons left in him. Arsenal already have Wojciech Szczesny as a first-team regular, and so the Reds have the edge on that front.
Cech is a three-time Premier League winner and also has two League Cups, four FA Cups and one Champions League title to his name. He has been instrumental to every one of Chelsea’s successes over the last decade and has been a mainstay in the Blues’ first XI. This season, with the arrival of Thibaut Courtois though, all that has changed.
With the immense know-how and experience that he will bring along, Cech may be the perfect solution to Liverpool’s problems. It is now upto Rodgers and the board to make sure that they can coerce the Chelsea legend to jump ship to Anfield.
Watch former Reds’ legend Bruce Grobelaar call Mignolet ‘worse than Dracula’ here: