Simon Mignolet calls for Liverpool to improve defensive performances after back-to-back clean sheets

Mignolet will be full of confidence going to East London on Saturday but the Belgian goalkeeper believes that his side are still capable of much more as they await the welcome from Slaven Bilić and his Hammers on Saturday.

Simon Mignolet calls for Liverpool to improve defensive performances after back-to-back clean sheets
(Picture - Getty images - Rich Linley)

Liverpool’s hit and miss season reached its most critical condition when they were humbled 4-1 at Wembley by the high flying Tottenham Hotspur’s, which put Merseyside into complete disarray with an immediate reaction proving vital for Jürgen Klopp and his side.

The recent response shown by the Reds this week has been nothing short of emphatic as they picked up two vital wins, six all important goals and two very rare in recent clean sheets.

Huddersfield and NK Maribor suffered the harsh wrath of Liverpool who are looking to get their disappointing start to the campaign back on track as improvement in the League and qualification to the last 16 of the Champion’s League have looked more likely in the last seven days.

Next on the agenda for Simon Mignolet and his side is a visit to the capital and the London stadium where his side are looking to make it three wins on the bounce against a struggling West Ham side which could provide a good foundation for the Reds for the upcoming hectic winter period after the November international break.

Mignolet suffered large criticism last time he was in the capital and he is determined to right the wrongs that he and his side suffered at the hands of a resurgent Spurs side.

Needed a response

“After the Tottenham game we knew we had to respond and the best way to do that is obviously by performances,”

“You can speak about it, and that’s what we did also at Melwood and in training to make sure we corrected what happened at Wembley, but then at the end of the day you have to do it on the pitch and so far, so good.

“After the disappointing result we’ve managed to win twice 3-0. We’ve got one more game before the international break, then after that it’s the long run in the winter where we play loads of games so we need to make it positive and by ending this little period with a victory.

“Then we’d put ourselves in good shape and a good position for that long run when anything can happen, really.”

Liverpool visit “struggling” but “dangerous” Hammers in Saturday evening fixture

Both Maribor and Huddersfield were able to frustrate the Reds in the opening 45 minutes with not a goal registered in either of the first halves of both games. However, the second half proved to be a humbling experience for the visitors as both sides were undone by a flurry of goals in the second half which saw the Reds hit six goals in the process.

Mignolet feels the players dealt with the challenge posed by those defensive tactics well, but is targeting further improvements against a West Ham outfit he expects to approach Saturday’s clash with more attacking intent.

“Obviously the Huddersfield and Maribor games were two similar games really. Two teams who tried to defend, sit back and it’s hard to break them down. You have to be patient, keep playing football until that one moment comes and that’s what we did,” the No.22 said.

“But then at the same time, [we had to] make sure we were organised not to concede on the counter-attack or off a set-piece, and so far, so good. 

“Two games, two clean sheets and six goals is a positive, and we have to continue. We have to keep doing the same things we did in those two games and try to do it better, because that’s always the idea, the objective. We can still do better, we can still improve.”

Liverpool's last truly convincing away performance came away against the Hammers back in May, thrashing Bilić's charges 4-0 thanks to Philippe Coutinho's inspired display in central midfield.

However, the West Ham side of today are in a completely different scenario to the side that were torn apart by a top-four team of six months ago as the Hammers sit a disappointing 16th place in the table with the pressure really beginning to crank up on the Hammer's boss.

Mignolet believes that the trip to East London will prove more difficult than some spectators might imagine, Mignolet continued by saying: “I think away to West Ham is going to be a different challenge.

“They’re not in the best shape, they’re struggling a little bit, therefore they’re maybe a team that’s dangerous because they want to keep the three points at home and West Ham’s never an easy place to go. 

“But at the same time I’m sure they’ll be difficult to beat and they’ll defend with their lives when they have to. I think it’ll be a ‘total package’ game where we have to create chances and at the same time make sure we don’t give anything away at our end so West Ham can create the chances they want.

“I think we’re in good shape. We want to go to London and finish this period off with a victory again.”

Though at such an early stage of the campaign, Jürgen Klopp's side will hope to produce a similar performance this weekend to the emphatic display shown on their last visit to the London Stadium given they can hardly afford to fall further behind the top-six - a 12-point gap already separating them and first-placed Manchester City while reigning champions Chelsea are three points ahead in fourth.