Simon Mignolet may have reached the end of the road as far as his Liverpool career is concerned, according to his Everton counterpart Tim Howard.
Mignolet, 26, was replaced by Brad Jones in the 3-0 defeat to Manchester United on 14 December and again midweek in the League Cup victory over Bournemouth. During his press conference on Friday 19 December, manager Brendan Rodgers revealed he plans to stick with the Australian for the visit of Arsenal on Sunday 21 December.
Rodgers said the Belgian shot-stopper has been dropped 'indefinitely' from the first team in order to take him out of the firing line in a season marred by individual errors.
But Howard believes Rodgers' decision will be detrimental for Mignolet and has suggested there may be "no way back" for the former Sunderland custodian.
"I feel very sorry for Simon, even though he's a Red," Howard said. "It's hard for a goalkeeper. I think the quote is 'taking the goalkeeper out of the spotlight' but I think it only sheds more light on him.
"I don't agree with it. I think you have to go with a goalkeeper and appreciate there will be ups and downs, especially in this league. It's so fast, it's rough, it's a tough league for goalkeepers.
"When you take a goalkeeper out of the team and then you bring him back, does the team have confidence in him? Does the team have confidence in him?
"I'll be honest and I think it's a hard road back now. I think when you get taken out of the team, sometimes there is no way back.
"It's unfortunate for a goalkeeper, but that's how it is. You can't come on and play the last 20 or 30 minutes and put a good shift in and win a few tackles. It's all or nothing with goalkeepers."
Mignolet's replacement Jones, 32, was criticised for his role in two of United's goals at Old Trafford on Sunday after appearing to go to ground too early in attempts to stop Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie's efforts.