Simon Mignolet delighted with start at Liverpool after late penalty save gives Reds' opening victory

The £9m signing from Sunderland pulled off a late double save from a Jon Walters penalty to give Brendan Rodgers side the win.

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Simon Mignolet was delighted after making his Liverpool debut against Stoke, with a late penalty save giving the Reds’ a 1-0 victory over Stoke on the opening day of the new Premier League season.

The hosts went ahead through a Daniel Sturridge striker after dominating the first half, but they were unable to convert their possession into goals and when Daniel Agger was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area, it looked as if Stoke would be leaving Anfield with a point in the bag.

Jonathan Walters stepped-up to take the penalty, firing low to Mignolet’s right, but the Belgian dived superbly to save the Irishman’s shot, and Kenwyne Jones’ rebound to quickly earn the adulation of the Kop faithful.

"You always pick the corner to go to and today I picked the right one,” Mignolet told BT Sports 1, who were showing live coverage of their first Premier League game.

"I kept a clean sheet which is the important thing. Today it worked, I am really pleased with it.

"We didn't manage to get a second goal but we deserved to win."

However, it was Mignolet’s opposite number Asmir Begovic who was drawing all the plaudits after a series of magnificent saves kept the Potters in the match.

But despite being awarded the man of the match award, Begovic admitted the result was hard to take although they will look to take the positives out of the result.

"It doesn't mean a lot when you can't get a result,” the Bosnian said after the match.

"We put in a decent performance and should have got something out of the game. The spirit was there and we kept digging in and we caused a lot of problems in the end.

"We are being positive to take stuff out of the game and kick on next week."

The game signalled Mark Hughes’ first competitive match in charge of Stoke since taking over from Tony Pulis, and Begovic was full of praise for the former QPR manager.

"It's fantastic, from day one the lads have really enjoyed it and we've been positive about the work.

"We'll get better as the season goes on."

And on Mignolet’s penalty save, Begovic said: "That was a fantastic save, Simon is a top-quality keeper and I am sure he will do well for Liverpool."

Brendan Rodgers was delighted with Mignolet's debut, claiming he showed why the club chose to shell out £9m for the Sunderland shot-stopper when they already had Pepe Reina of their books.

"We bought him because he is a top, top goalkeeper and he had three saves to make in total," said Rodgers.

"We rate him highly.

"I thought overall our performance was outstanding."

The former Swansea boss did admit his anxiety had increased as Liverpool were unable to convert their many chances, but remained pleased that they opened their account with a win.

He said: "It's always a concern as a manager when you dominate the game so much and create so many chances but today we only scored one.

"I was so, so pleased for the players because they have worked tirelessly and starts our actual season on three points.

"The fluidity and flow of our game was good, our passing and combination play was excellent.

"I thought our intensity from the off was outstanding."

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