Four months after Simon Mignolet sensationally marked the beginning of his Liverpool career with a game-changing penalty save, the Belgian has selected the moment as his favorite of the calendar year.
With mere seconds left on the clock at Anfield on the opening day of the 2013-14 Barclays Premier League campaign, the Reds were leading visitors Stoke City by a single goal and heading for three points.
Heads collapsed into hands, however, when the Potters were awarded a spot-kick, but emotions changed instantly again when Mignolet sprang low to his right to push away Jonathan Walters‘ effort.
The save ensured that Brendan Rodgers‘ team kicked off its season with a crucial victory, building a platform for the lofty position in which the Reds currently find themselves with 16 games now played.
It also etched an indelible memory into Mignolet’s mind, endearing the summer signing to Kopites immediately and banishing any nerves during the opening weeks of the stopper’s Anfield career.
“I’d have to say my league debut for Liverpool,” he said when asked for his highlight of 2013 by Match of the Day magazine. “To save a penalty in injury time against Stoke was very special, especially as it meant we got the three points.
“To do it on my debut was a dream come true and the Liverpool fans were amazing. It was a debut I’ll never forget.”
“I have to thank my teammates at both Sunderland and Liverpool for this award because playing well and winning is always a team effort,”the magazine’s goalkeeper of the year added.