Mignolet's plea: STAY IN EUROPE; FORGET ABOUT CUP FINAL, SAYS GOALKEEPER.
SIMON MIGNOLET has urged Liverpool's players to forget about the upcoming League Cup final and focus on securing a place in the last 16 of the Europa League first.
The Reds' goalless draw with Augsburg in Germany on Thursday night, although far from convincing, leaves Jurgen Klopp's side in pole position to progress when the sides meet in the second-leg at Anfield.
That game comes just three days before their Wembley date with Manchester City, giving Klopp a dilemma in terms of team selection.
Mignolet, though, says there is no danger of Liverpool's players getting too far ahead of themselves. Speaking after the game in Augsburg, he said: "There is no point in looking forward to the League Cup final.
"We are professional footballers and you just have to take every game as it comes. The next game is always the most important. It is a cliche but it is as true as it can be.
"With all the games we have been playing we are used to playing two games in a week. We have seven days to recover - which is a change from what we have done recently. We have to get on with it, look at the things we can do better and then I am sure we can do the business at Anfield when we get the fans behind us."
Liverpool underwhelmed in drawing with an Augsburg side which is currently embroiled in a relegation battle in the Bundesliga, but are clear favourites to get the job done next week.
Klopp admitted afterwards that his side had made "poor decisions" during the game at the WWK Arena, but can take heart from seeing them record a second successive clean sheet - a luxury he has that has not always been there since his arrival at Anfield.
"We defended well and that is pleasing," said Mignolet, who made one smart save in the first half but was otherwise pretty well protected. That is why we are still in this tie having not conceded away from home. That is a positive thing. You have to do the same things next week and try to score a goal.
"When you play away from home you want to score a goal but that didn't happen. We knew it was going to be tough beforehand because they are technical, difficult to beat and don't give many chances away.
"We created a few in the second half especially but didn't capitalise on those but we are still in a decent position when we play next week at Anfield. You always want to win the game, it doesn't matter if it is a double-header. We created enough chances to score but didn't do that.
There good teams in the Europa and we have we are Liverpool Simon "I know every German team is tough to beat and technically up to date and they make it difficult to play. It is a different kind of play to what you have in England and you have to adapt to that. In England it is a bit more pressing while here they play a bit more tactically and then it is not easy to adapt to that. They make two lines of four and it is difficult to break that down. We were not aggressive enough in the first half to break that down but second half we were better."
He added: "We scored six last week (against Villa) but that is just how football goes. Sometimes you have to save a few in the previous game to score one in the next game!
"We have to accept that and we will focus on making sure we do the job at home against Augsburg. A European night at Anfield, the fans will be behind us and you can always do a bit more when that comes along.
"You have to have a bit of luck - first half they could have scored and they hit the post late on as well so you have to see it balance out. If you look back to it a 0-0 draw was probably the right result. We will try and do the best we can next week and hopefully we can get through."
Mignolet is aware that Liverpool's home form this season has not exactly been formidable - they have won just one of their last six Anfield games, and that against League Two Exeter City.
are many playing League to show willing goalkeeper Mignolet "Every 90 minutes is different," Mignolet insisted. "On a European night with everything which has happened in the past I am sure the fans will be up for it pushing us forward and it is up to us to try to get through.
"There are many good teams playing in the Europa League and we have to show we are willing to go to the next round. We have to learn from the game today. We have played them and know what it is about.
"The Europa League is a very big competition and we have a big chance. Every competition you play as Liverpool you want to win and that is all we will try to do next week."
"There are many good teams playing the Europa League and we have to show we are willing Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet
Simon Mignolet during the Reds' goalless draw at Augsburg on Thursday
Simon Mignolet during a training session at Melwood
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|Publication:||Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)|
|Date:||Feb 20, 2016|
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