Liverpool have made four, not world class players, but respectable four players.Simon Mignolet, Iago Aspas, Luis Alberto and Kolo Toure started their Liverpool careers yesterday as the club started its first pre-season training in the Melwood training ground. And among them one of the most important is Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet. The Belgian has performed brilliantly for his team last season, attracting interests from the Merseyside club as Brendan Rodgers prepares for a long term replacement for Pepe Reina. However, with Reina at Anfield, which of the duo should be Liverpool’s no 1? Let’s look at some stats here.
From the very beginning, let us be clear that it is unfair to compare between the two keepers as Mignolet played behind an average defensive setup which leaked 54 goals in 38 league games, while Reina had a relatively better set of defenders ahead of him (43 goals conceded in the league). Having said that, it is a bit surprising how similar their statistics look from last season’s exploits.
While Mignolet kept 11 clean sheets for the Sunderland team last term, Reina is just ahead with 14 clean sheets, both of which are commendable. In the average goals conceded per games, Mignolet leads Reina by 1.42 to 1.10, which is expected given the difference between the two clubs.
But the fact which grasps our attention the most is the average saves per game of the two keepers under discussion here. While Reina has made 1.35 saves per games last season, Mignolet is way ahead with 3.26, clearly indicating the difficulties that Mignolet had to face while managing the sticks for The Black Cats. But this is one statistic which displays the class of the shot-stopper, justifying the delight of the Anfield faithful with the new signing.
And then again the average saves per goal are 2.48 to 1.27 in favour of Mignolet. Mignolet also leads the average punches column with 58% compared to Reina’s 42%, almost putting an end to our debate. When it comes to handling crosses, the 25-year-old caught 47 high crosses to the 30-year-old Reina’s 31. Even more importantly, Mignolet only failed to cleanly take three aerial balls, whereas Reina was unable to gather 10.
For the last nail in the coffin, Mignolet’s average claim success is also better than Reina by 7%.
While there are other areas like concentration, ball distribution, One-on-One Duels to look out for in a keeper, we can firmly believe that Rodgers has made the right move to go for Mignolet irrespective of Reina’s future next year. So, is Simon Mignolet a competition for Pepe Reina, or is that the other way round? Well, we can wait until August 17th to find out.
Before leaving, do have a look at the stats below.
|2.2||Games per clean sheet||3.5|
|1.1||Goals conceded per game||1.4|
|38||Minutes per save||23|
|55%||Saves in box %||68%|
|28%||Clear chance save %||43%|
|31||High cross catches||47|
|91%||Ground 50/50 win||73%|
|86%||Aerial 50/50 win||75%|
|692||Open Play Passes (OPP)||746|
|0.25||Passes per minute||0.22|
|61%||OPP Forwards %||92%|
|24%||OPP Left %||3%|
|15%||OPP Right %||5%|