Birthdate: 6 March 1988
Birthplace: Sint-Truiden, Belgium
Other clubs: Sint-Truiden (2004-19), Sunderland (2010-13)
Bought from: Sunderland
Signed for LFC: £9m, 25.06.2013
International debut: 25.03.2011 vs. Austria
International caps: 18 (6 at LFC) - 28.03.2017
Liverpool debut: 17.08.2013
Last appearance: 16.04.2017
Contract expiry: 2021 (signed 18.01.2016)
Win ratio: 52% W:91 D:43 L:41
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 6 / 0
LFC league games/goals: 131 / 0
Total LFC games/goals: 175 / 0
Player profileAlthough in no hurry to see Pepe Reina depart. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers acted quickly to cover the possibility of his Spanish goalkeeper leaving the club by signing the Sunderland ‘keeper Simon Mignolet in the final week of June, 2013. There hadn’t been enough competition for Reina in recent years with his main understudy, the Australian Brad Jones, actually being five months older than him. With Reina due to reach his thirty-first birthday soon after the start of the 2013/14 season and Mignolet not twenty-six until three-quarters of the way through that season, the signing of the Belgian international made perfect sense with the bonus that he is already very familiar with what the Premier League has to offer, having played in nearly 80% of Sunderland’s League fixtures in the previous three seasons.
Mignolet was born and grew up in the city of Sint-Truiden, joined his local club when he was in his mid-teens and progressed so rapidly that he became first-team goalkeeper shortly after his eighteenth birthday. Sint-Truiden were promoted as Second Division champions in 2009 and finished in a commendable fifth position after the regular season a year later with the twenty-two-year old being named Belgian Goalkeeper of the Year. He had also added a goal scored to his impressive resume. In April 2009 Sint-Truiden were cruising to victory over Ronse when, in the 88th minute, a spot kick was awarded and Mignolet stepped forward seeking to seal a 5-1 rout. His penalty was saved, but Mignolet scored from the rebound.
With clubs in Holland and Italy showing serious interest, it was clear that a smaller provincial club had little chance of keeping one of its brightest stars. Ultimately it was English club Sunderland who signed Mignolet on a five-year deal in the middle of June, 2010. At the time of his arrival Scotsman Craig Gordon was the ‘sitting tenant’ in Sunderland’s goal but he was trying to recover from a serious injury, a recovery delayed so much that the new arrival played in 23 of Sunderland’s thirty-eight Premier League matches in 2010/11. Gordon was still struggling with injuries during the following season but the Belgian comfortably saw off his main competitor, Keiren Westwood, who had arrived from Coventry City; and he really consolidated his position in 2012/13 by appearing in all but three of Sunderland’s competitive matches, Westwood being selected for the three League Cup-ties in the first half of the season. Sunderland finished the 2012/13 season in seventeenth position, one place and three points clear of the third relegated club, Wigan Athletic. Mignolet conceded fifty-four goals as an ever-present in the Premier League plus four in two FA Cup-ties.
Mignolet played every minute of Liverpool's 38 Premier League matches in 2013/14, excelling on his debut by saving a late penalty-kick from Stoke City's Jonathan Walters to preserve his team's slender 1-0 lead. He also played in both League Cup-ties but Brad Jones was selected ahead of him for the three FA Cup-ties. Fifty league goals conceded was not a good statistic though although in fairness the goalkeeper could not be directly to blame for many of them. It took time for him to gain the trust of the defenders in front of him and that probably applied in reverse as well. On the whole a satisfactory first season as a Liverpool player, who can still improve, especially the communication with his defenders and his domination of the penalty area. Mignolet is a unique player in the sense he boasts a degree in Political science, studying 20th century socialism while building his professional football career. He is also a multilinguist and is fluent in Flemish, Dutch, German, French, and English.
Although Mignolet started and finished the 2014/15 season as Liverpool's first-choice goalkeeper his form fluctuated during the season, so much so that after the club had been knocked out of the Champions League early in December his manager Brendan Rodgers announced that he would be left out of the team "for an indefinite period". But only four matches later his replacement, Brad Jones, had to leave the field early during the Boxing Day fixture at Burnley.The Belgian then started in the remaining thirty-one matches of the season to take his total of appearances for the club close to the century mark. Mignolet remained Liverpool's number one for 2015-16 although Adam Bodgan was never expected to push him too hard for a place. He saved two penalties in the shoot-out against Stoke City to take the Reds into the League Cup final and signed a new five year deal in January 2016. In Euro 2016 he was in the Belgian squad but didn't feature in any games and returned to pre season knowing he faced a challenge to be number one keeper after the arrival of Loris Karius. The German's broken hand sustained in a friendly with Chelsea on 27th July though meant Mignolet was sure to start the season as first choice.
Appearances per season
A more detailed look at the player's appearances
|8||West Ham United|
|Club||Season||Club rank||League apps||League goals||Total apps||Total goals|
|Sint-Truiden||2006-2007||1st Division Belgium||19||0||19||0|
|Sint-Truiden||2007-2008||1st Division Belgium||24||0||25||0|
|Sint-Truiden||2008-2009||2nd Division Belgium||29||1||31||1|
|Sint-Truiden||2009-2010||1st Division Belgium||28||0||30||0|
|Sunderland||2010-2011||England Premier League||23||0||26||0|
|Sunderland||2011-2012||England Premier League||29||0||35||0|
|Sunderland||2012-2013||England Premier League||38||0||40||0|