Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has heaped praise on Simon Mignolet's performances this season and claims that the goalkeeper will continue to grow in stature for the upcoming campaign.
The Belgian international made the switch from Sunderland last summer and enjoyed a dream debut at Merseyside, helping his new employers secure all three points by denying Stoke City an equaliser from the penalty spot. Mignolet's place in the starting XI was carved out by sending the Reds' favourite stopper Pepe Reina on a season-long loan to Napoli.
Rodgers believes that his current first choice shot-stopper is settling well following his first season at Anfield. The Northern Irishman indirectly credits Liverpool's rise in the Premier League this season to Mignolet's performance, citing the 26-year-old's crucial saves that helped his side earn more points this campaign.
"I've been delighted with Simon since he has come in. I think he's an outstanding goalkeeper who is only going to get better and better," Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo.
"He has come into a huge club and replaced a legendary figure at the club in Pepe Reina. That was always going to take a bit of time."
"His form has been very good and he has consistently made really crucial saves for us. Over the course of the season he has made a big contribution. I don't forget the significance of some of the saves he has made. Simon hasn't ever cost us a game but he has certainly gained us points," he said.
Prior to last Sunday's 0-2 reversal at Anfield in the Premier League fixture against Chelsea, Liverpool registered a hard-fought 3-2 victory against Norwich City at Carrow Road.
Mignolet, who has featured in all off the Reds' 36 Premier League matches this season, was partially responsible for the Canaries' first goal. His misjudged attempt to punch the ball clear fell kindly for Gary Hooper to slot the ball into an unguarded net.
However, Rodgers stresses that the goal was conceded not just because of the Belgian's error but also because of the team's defensive mentality at that time.
"That happened at a time when as a team we were a wee bit too deep at Norwich. At times we looked to protect our lead too much and that didn't help Simon. We need to make sure we clear the space in order for him to come and make those punches and those catches that he can make," Rodgers concluded.