Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has described new Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet as 'a monster' between the posts.

The Belgian swapped Sunderland for Merseyside during the closing days of June and is expected to kick off the 2013-14 campaign as Brendan Rodgers' first-choice stopper.

Carragher had an opportunity to observe the 25-year-old at close quarters when he trained with the squad and featured in Steven Gerrard's testimonial earlier this month.

"During shooting practice he's like a monster in the goal," he told the Liverpool Echo.

"Mignolet has been a top 'keeper for Sunderland over the past few years.

"He has great size and, speaking to some of the lads, they have been very impressed by him so far.

"Playing for Liverpool will be slightly different to what he experienced at Sunderland. There will probably be less to do, more concentration needed and a bit more pressure.

"There will be things he's not had to deal with before but in terms of his ability it's all there.

"It's a brave decision by the manager and I admire it really.

"Pepe Reina had been part of the furniture for a long time but the manager has come in and thought it was a position that he could improve on. He thought he could buy someone better than what he already had."

Mignolet is one of four new recruits at Anfield this summer, joining Spaniards Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas, plus experienced Barclays Premier League defender Kolo Toure in the ranks.

It has been suggested that the Ivorian defender could be the man to replace the experience and leadership sacrificed by Carragher's retirement at the end of 2012-13.

The ex-No.23 agrees: "I've had a couple of chats with Kolo and he's one of the nicest people you could ever meet.

"He's a great character and has huge enthusiasm for the game. He also has a lot of experience at big clubs and of winning trophies.

"Before Steven Gerrard's testimonial he was getting all the lads going in the dressing room. He didn't cost a penny and is a great acquisition."

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Rodgers guided Liverpool through pre-season with six victories in seven fixtures around the world in July and August - and the 35-year-old has been suitably impressed ahead of the season opener.

"Pre-season has been very good," Carragher continued.

"Obviously the manager has been trying to bring in another attacking player and I'd still like to see one maybe in my old position at centre-back.

"Having stability compared to the changes at other big clubs over the summer should work in their favour but they've still got to do the job on the pitch.

"Brendan came in and had a good first season but it needs to go on to another level this season - both in terms of the league position and the domestic cup competitions. We need to see a bigger and better season."

The Reds will run out at Anfield to kick off their 2013-14 campaign against Stoke City this Saturday, and Carragher will be conspicuous by his absence for the first time in 17 years.

He said: "I haven't missed playing so far but I'm sure I will when the lads go out to face Stoke on Saturday.

"But I've had my time and I know I made the right decision to retire.

"I'm lucky to have got a great role and I'm just glad I've got something to focus on rather than keep thinking back. I'm excited about all the different games I'll be covering."


The Bootle native will regularly share a studio with one-time rival and former Manchester United stalwart Gary Neville - and Carragher expects the partnership to work.

"It's a great show as it's a bit more in-depth, analysing different things and that's what I really enjoy about the game," he added.

"Why is a manager doing this? Why is a team playing like that? Why was that goal scored? You are actually looking at things in more detail.

"As players Gary and I were at clubs who were big rivals. We went to World Cups and played for England together but he was never really in my circle of friends.

"We are both passionate about our own clubs but more importantly we're both passionate about the game. No-one will be looking for any trouble!

"We both spent our entire careers at one club and I'm sure there will be plenty we agree on. There isn't right or wrong when it comes to opinions.

"I had a spell as a pundit during the Euros in 2012 and really enjoyed it. I'd be watching the games at home this season anyway so to do it for Sky is a great way for me to stay involved in the game.

"It's difficult for players now when they stop playing to decide what to do. You retire from football but I still class myself as a young lad.

"I just love my football and enjoy talking about the game. I'll just be myself and try to talk a bit slower!"

But having dedicated two decades of his professional career to the Liverpool first team, will Carragher find it difficult to analyse his old club?

The new pundit added: "I think I've always been pretty honest over the years when I've been talking about Liverpool in interviews, whether we've been doing well or not.

"Liverpool are still my team and I won't try to hide that. I want to see the club do well and if they do it will make my job a bit easier.

"I'm sure I'll get frustrated if they aren't doing well and that might come out on camera. I might be bit more harsh as my passion for the club comes out.

"It doesn't bother me whether it's difficult to say because Sky is my team now. I have to do my job and play well for them if you like."