Rodgers backs Mignolet to come good
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists he has not lost faith in goalkeeper Simon Mignolet despite dropping the Belgium international.
The 26-year-old was told to expect an "indefinite" period on the sidelines after being left out of the team to face Manchester United on December 14 following much criticism of his form this season.
While Rodgers has not told the Belgian when he can expect a recall, he expects him to return a better goalkeeper when he does, having spent plenty of time analysing his performances.
"Simon's response has been fantastic," said Rodgers, who admitted he had to take Mignolet out of the spotlight to allow him a cooling off period to reassess his game.
"People would think coming out of the team would have a negative effect but he has been outstanding and his training has been good and we're analysing where he can improve.
"That time coming out of the team sometimes gives you that reflective period that you don't have when you're in the thick of it and it can benefit you.
"I've seen a real positive reaction from him. John (Achterberg), who's our excellent goalkeeping coach, and myself sit down with him, study his game and look at the areas we feel the improvements can be made.
"Hopefully when he returns he'll have gained from that time out and becomes a better keeper for it.
"We've seen it in the past with other keepers at other clubs - sometimes that little period out can really help. I'm confident that'll be the case with Simon.
"I haven't lost any belief in him - he's still an outstanding goalkeeper.
"I'm sure when the time comes for him to come back in, he'll be a better goalkeeper for it."
Rodgers, however, has made no decision on when that day will come.
"I'll make my mind up on that at the right time," Rodgers added.
"At this moment in time, Simon is just working hard to get back into the team.
"It gives him the chance to reflect and also allow him to refocus on his game. Players need that at times."
Brad Jones has stood in for the last three matches and although he has conceded six goals already his appearance has coincided with an upturn in performances after Rodgers switched to a 3-4-3 formation.
The Australian's distribution is superior to Mignolet's and while his all-round game may not be any better his manager has been pleased with his contribution.
Jones is out of contract in the summer and spoke this week about wanting to earn a new deal, but Rodgers just wants him to concentrate on his matches, with Burnley next up on Boxing Day.
"Over his career here he has been number three, number two goalkeeper and when called upon has come in and done very well," said the Reds boss.
"He is a very loyal goalkeeper, he is an important member of our squad.
"He has done well in the games that he has played in. He is consistent right the way through.
"The reality is footballers play football for the game and he is a wonderful professional.
"He didn't play a lot last season but he still does his work with maximum intensity every day.
"They are a close-knit group, the goalkeepers, and they have worked and supported each other."