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Sunday 22 October 2017

Simon Mignolet: We are showing the fight needed for Champions League

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard and Simon Mignolet celebrate victory
Liverpool's Steven Gerrard and Simon Mignolet celebrate victory

Simon Mignolet believes Liverpool are showing the fighting spirit necessary to qualify for the Champions League as they head into Sunday's seismic showdown with Manchester United at Anfield.

Brendan Rodgers' in-form Reds survived a first-half fright at Swansea on Monday night before emerging 1-0 winners to cut the gap on fourth-placed United to two points.

Mignolet had to produce fine stops to deny Bafetimbi Gomis and Gylfi Sigurdsson in a first half Swansea dominated but Jordan Henderson's fortunate winner gave Liverpool their fifth successive Barclays Premier League victory.

READ MORE: Henderson sinks Swans as Liverpool set up winner takes all clash with United

"We showed the character and resilience during the game that you need if you're going to be successful," Mignolet said.

"This was our sixth successive clean sheet away from home and we have to keep that going until the end of the season.

"You keep those clean sheets as a whole team. Everyone is playing together, doing their job and willing to fight for each other."

Liverpool have not lost in the league since a 3-0 defeat at United on December 14 when the stuttering Mignolet was dropped and replaced by Brad Jones.

But Mignolet soon reclaimed his place and both he and Liverpool have gone from strength to strength ever since, the Merseysiders now unbeaten in 13 league games and Rodgers insisting they can catch second-placed Manchester City who are currently four points better off than his men.

United's visit on Sunday might go a long way to determining if that ambition is feasible but Mignolet insists Liverpool have to focus solely on themselves and not their rivals for a top-four spot.

"This win sets up the next game and that's a big game of course," Mignolet said.

"But we don't have to make too much of it, there's three points there and we have to try to do our best to get the win at home.

"We just have to look at our own performances, there's no point in looking at the other teams, and keep doing what we've been doing in the last few months.

"We've still got all the big teams to play but the important thing is we don't look too forward ahead of ourselves."

Mignolet does not resemble the goalkeeper who visibly appeared anxious and made regular mistakes during the first half of the season.

As well as his precious first-half saves at the Liberty Stadium he was commanding in the air and punched well under pressure, but he puts his impressive record down to those in front of him.

"As a goalkeeper you're depending on the rest of the team to keep those clean sheets," he said.

"You can't do that on your own and that's what's pleasing.

"Everybody's doing their job, is organised and that makes life easy for a goalkeeper.

"We had to fight at Swansea to get through to 0-0 at half-time but the second half we got the goal and that came with putting a lot more pressure on the ball."

Swansea defender Jordi Amat felt Garry Monk's side paid the price for failing to turn their first-half superiority into a lead.

The Spaniard played an unwitting role in Henderson's winner as his attempted clearance clattered off the Liverpool midfielder and flew over Lukasz Fabianski in the Swansea goal.

"It was an unlucky goal for us," said Amat, who was making his first league start since September after Federico Fernandez had returned home to his native Argentina to attend personal matters.

"I don't know what happened because I was on the floor but I think we deserved a draw.

"We were playing very well in the first half but we couldn't score one or two goals.

"In the second half we suffered a little bit and we have to analyse that to see what happened."

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