Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has emerged as a transfer target for Benfica, according to reports from Portugal.
Portuguese media outlet A Bola reported that the Belgium goalkeeper is wanted by the Primeira Liga club, who have also targeted Roma’s Robin Olsen.
That is despite Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp telling the club’s official website that he thinks the 31-year-old will stay with the Champions League holders.
Since New Year’s Day 2018, Mignolet has not played a single minute of Premier League action for Liverpool, with Loris Karius preferred for the remainder of the 2017/18 campaign and Alisson becoming undisputed first choice after arriving at Anfield a year ago.
Last season, the Belgium goalkeeper played only two first-team games for Liverpool, both in 2-1 domestic cup defeats to Chelsea and Wolves. Mignolet shipped four goals in those two matches (two per game); Alisson conceded 34 goals in 51 games for the Reds (two every three games).
Alisson’s record is evidently much better than Mignolet’s, but the Brazil goalkeeper is actually statistically more likely to make a fateful error. He made three errors leading to goals in 38 league matches last season, one per 12.6 games. Mignolet has made 18 such errors in 245 Premier League appearances, one every 13.6 games.
After Mignolet, Liverpool’s other goalkeepers in the first team squad are Andy Lonergan, Caoimhin Kelleher and Vitezslav Jaros.
Lonergan has vast experience, having played 395 games in his career, but he has never featured at Premier League level. He was brought in by Klopp mainly to make up the numbers for the Reds’ pre-season tour, as reported by the Evening Standard, with Alisson not on the tour as he is resting after the Copa America.
Kelleher and Jaros are both injured and neither of them has made a senior club appearance. The former has at least been in the Reds’ squad for Champions League games, whereas the latter was drafted in from Liverpool’s FA Youth Cup-winning side from last season.
Klopp has at least ensured that there is an adequate quantity of backup goalkeepers in Liverpool’s squad, but if Mignolet leaves, none of the backup options to Alisson have any top-flight experience.
That could be a very dangerous risk to take, for any injury or suspension to Alisson would then require Lonergan, Kelleher or Jaros to be thrown in at the deep end.
The inclusion of the younger pair in cup games, or a loan spell for either, should help them to get sufficient first-team experience for Klopp to then consider selling Mignolet. Until then, the Belgium international is still needed in Liverpool’s squad.
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