Simon Mignolet has revealed his anger at being dropped by Jurgen Klopp this season.
The Belgian keeper had started the first six games of the season and had even saved a penalty on the opening day at Arsenal, but when he was dropped for the EFL Cup win over Derby he did not regain his place – a fact which he says baffled him.
German keeper Loris Karius was brought in by Klopp in the summer from Mainz for £4.7million and though Klopp refused to admit the new boy was the club’s new No. 1 the new boy would have started the season had he not broken his hand in pre-season in the USA.
Karius had started the majority of pre-season games and was preparing to face Arsenal before his injury, which allowed Mignolet to get a hold on the No. 1 jersey.
“Yeah, inside I got angry,” Mignolet told the Liverpool Echo. “I don’t think anyone on the planet doesn’t get angry!
“But I can never show it to the outside world. The minute when he told me there was this sudden rush of disappointment. I didn’t get it.
“This was the worst moment I had, worse than when Brendan dropped me for Brad Jones. There wasn’t really anything where I could blame myself as before with Brendan you can accept there were points when you could have done this, this or this better.
“After I was dropped that time, I just kept asking myself ‘why?’ but the only way to deal with it was to put my head down and get on with it.
“I was determined to show myself in the best possible light. The last few months have given me a lot more settlement here. I understand things now and I can deal with it.”
Mignolet went on to start start just two games – both in the League Cup – before his surprise recall in December against Middlesbrough.
Karius had made a couple of big mistakes which persuaded Klopp to take him out of the spotlight and Mignolet then maintained his place as No. 1 for the remainder of the season with a string of impressive displays.
“You are thinking from the outside world about how it will be,” added Mignolet. “You see it as a competition, with Loris getting another chance and Danny Ward coming back. I understand that.
“Everyone will see the numbers and think I am fighting this guy and this guy. But that isn’t how it is. I’m fighting against Manuel Neuer, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Joe Hart, Iker Casillas. I know all those names are going to be flying around, I know what I did this season will be forgotten.
“I’m not fighting against the guys in the dressing room. I’m fighting against myself. There is no point gauging what is going to be around me.
“I’m never going to look at them if something is going on around me. I have shown that I can deal with it. I’ll be coming back to show it again.”
Mignolet was quick to point out there were no personal issues with Karius.
“It’s fine, I’ve never had any issues with any of the goalkeepers I have worked with. I hope that is still the same! But, no, it’s fine,” said the 29-year-old.
“Alex (Manninger) and John (Achterberg) have always been there too.
“Listen, I’ve never had hatred for someone if they have taken my place. You can’t keep hatred inside yourself if you are fighting for something.
“As a goalkeeper, you are on your own and even now, after a solid season, the rumours are starting again with Casillas.
“I’m 29 now. I know what happens when you are the Liverpool goalkeeper. Whether you have good performances, s*** performances, the scrutiny is always there. Always.”
And he also admitted he was at ease with Klopp, despite being dropped.
“I’ve always felt settled with him,” he added. “I know my season has been solid but the strange thing is in the middle of it all I had 10 games sitting on the bench.
“That was odd but I responded to that and came back strongly from it. That wasn’t the first time I have faced it. I had it in Belgium, I had it at Sunderland. I had to react and it made me better. I have got on with it.”
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