Mignolet: I'm always ready
Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet insists he is ready to step back into the firing line after making an unexpected return to the team.
A thigh injury to Brad Jones just 15 minutes into the 1-0 Boxing Day victory at Burnley meant the Belgium international's exile was ended sooner than he could have anticipated.
Having been dropped a fortnight ago because of poor form, and missing the last three matches, his comeback was not all plain sailing. And, while he made one good save from Ashley Barnes in the first half, he was far from convincing, and allowing a Mamadou Sakho backpass to go out of play before he kicked it still requires some explaining.
But the 26-year-old is confident he can get back up and running quickly, as he will be in goal for the visit of Swansea on Monday with youngster Danny Ward on the bench.
"I just take every game as it comes," Mignolet said. "I work hard and keep my head down like I've always done - nothing changes.
"Sometimes things get tough but you still have to step up and I am a positive guy and will try to go again.
"You always have to be ready when you are on the bench. When you are second-choice goalkeeper, anything can happen in the warm-up, so I prepared myself as normal.
"I was still warm from the warm-up so that helped a bit. I tried to stay relaxed. I'm not a guy who gets flustered easily, so I tried to focus on my own game.
"Me and Brad get on really well. It is unfortunate for him to pick up an injury, but he will be back soon.
"We focus on ourselves and do our best every day in training to get better.
"When you get the chance you hope you do well and we got three points, so I am pleased with that because it is a difficult ground to go to and it was a difficult battle."
Mignolet kept only his fifth clean sheet in 23 appearances this season, but it was a crucial one with such a slender margin of victory.
It secured a first win in four league matches and, with Swansea and Leicester both to visit Anfield over the next week, there is a chance to build some much-needed momentum.
"At half-time it was still 0-0 and in the second half we went out and did the job," Mignolet added after Raheem Sterling's second-half winner.
"We knew it was going to be tough, but we fought really hard as a team and worked well.
"When you step onto the pitch, you have to do a job and I am pleased how we played. We got the three points and that is what mattered.
"It can only be a good thing as we have a couple of fixtures we can look forward to and pick up three points."