Simon Mignolet believes competition is key if he and his fellow goalkeeper Loris Karius are going to improve at Liverpool.
Mignolet returned to the starting eleven on Wednesday when the Reds returned to winning ways by beating Middlesbrough 3-0, with manager Jürgen Klopp making the decision to drop under-fire keeper Loris Karius.
The young German summer signing was tipped to be a long-term first-choice keeper for the Reds, but had come in for heavy criticism after some big errors caused the team to drop points against Bournemouth and West Ham United.
'The experience makes you stronger'
As a result, Mignolet was recalled to the first-team, much to his delight, and managed to keep a clean sheet in his first game back at the Riverside Stadium.
However the Belgium international understands what Karius is going through, as he has been through the same harrowing experience that the German keeper is going through right now, but believes that it made him stronger and Karius will come out the same.
"The goalkeeper position is not an easy one. You can only speak about it if you are a goalkeeper yourself," Mignolet said in an interview with the Liverpool Echo.
He admitted that he "of course" has "sympathy" with Karius because they are team-mates, adding: "I am 28 now and I have been through it as well. At a club like Liverpool, one mistake gets really big out of nothing. I know what it is like and it’s not nice."
But Mignolet insisted that "the most important thing" is the club and that "no individual" is bigger than Liverpool, despite admitting that it "won't be nice" for Karius - who he backed as "more than capable and professional enough" to "deal" with the criticism, "learn from it" and "get stronger" as a result.
The Reds' No.22 continued that he did not "want to speak too much about it" but said that they "have to get through it" together and "all have to push each other", stating: "Competition will get us far. I want to keep quiet and look out for my own performances."
Mignolet was prepared for his return
The 28-year-old last played in the Premier League back in September, before mid-week, having spent the last 10 league games on the bench, but his attitude never dropped.
Mignolet revealed that he "always" tried to "be ready in this kind of period" and said he is "somebody who thinks about training for yourself" and was focused on "keeping fit and healthy and ready."
He noted that things "can change very quickly" in football "with an injury or an illness", insisting players must "look after yourselv, stay professional, keep your head down, work hard and off the pitch stay focused" - all of which he said is "not always easy" particulary as a goalkeeper.
The win is all that matters
Mignolet impressed on his return to the side, despite not having a lot to do.
Most notably he produced a stunning one-handed save to deny Viktor Fischer, when the Reds were just 1-0 up - with the Dane's strike seemingly goalbound.
"Saves sometimes get noticed but there are more things we look out for that people don’t see," Mignolet continued, saying that "a lot of times" at "2-0 up last season and this season" they "went 2-1 and the game changed."
He vowed that it is "up to us at the back" to "manage the game in a way that we don't concede" as he spoke about the "pressure" that Boro put on them.
He added: "You need to have experienced to go through that," and spoke about how "the clean sheet was not important" and rather the priority was "about the three points."
"We have a derby game coming up," Mignolet said. "And it [the mood in the squad] feels totally different after what happened [the defeat to Bournemouth and the draw with West Ham] last week."
Mignolet is expected to keep his place in the team for the Merseyside Derby on Monday when Klopp's side make the short trip to Goodison Park to take on neighbours Everton in a huge clash.