Newcastle turn to ex-Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius for Carabao Cup final
Newcastle could be forced to turn to Loris Karius.
Nick Pope's first-half red card has left Newcastle United in an unenviable position ahead of next weekend's Carabao Cup final.
As if falling to a disappointing 2-0 defeat at home to top-four rivals Liverpool was not bad enough, Eddie Howe's team will now be without their first-choice goalkeeper and may be forced to start emergency back-up Loris Karius.
Newcastle's plans for Wembley trip have been thrown into disarray as the club seeks to secure their first major trophy since 1955 against Erik ten Hag's rejuvenated Manchester United side.
In the first half at St James Park, Pope rushed out of his area to deal with a long ball played by Liverpool keeper Alisson toward Mohamed Salah. The England international bizarrely elected to attempt a diving header.
Pope missed the ball initially and a moment of madness occurred. The former Burnley goalkeeper handled the ball to prevent Salah from a goal-scoring opportunity, leaving referee Anthony Taylor with no option but to brandish a red card.
The dismissal leaves Pope with a one-match ban, meaning that the former Burnley keeper will miss the Magpies' crunch encounter with Manchester United next Sunday.
Martin Dubravka played twice in the competition for Newcastle's opponents this season, meaning Howe's second-choice keeper is cup-tied and also unavailable for selection.
This unbelievable set of circumstances now leaves Newcastle in the position of having to turn to former Liverpool shot-stopper, Loris Karius.
The German keeper is remembered by fans of English football for his calamitous 2018 Champions League final showing, in which a spate of errors led to Liverpool falling to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Real Madrid. It was later reported that Karius suffered a concussion in the game.
Since then, the former Manchester City youth product has spent time on loan in Turkey and Germany, attempting to rebuild his career, before signing a short-term deal with Newcastle last September.
However, head coach Howe acted quickly after the Liverpool defeat to quell fans' worries about the prospect of seeing Karius line out in the final. He also mentioned the club's fourth-choice keeper Mark Gillespie could be in contention to play.
"That was the reason for taking a player of his profile," the Newcastle boss said.
"He has experience of the big games, so I’ve got no doubt or issue over his ability to step in."
🗣️ “I really feel for Nick [Pope]. I don’t know the rules on the red card but it felt like a harsh decision.”
Eddie Howe on the Nick Pope red card. 🟥 pic.twitter.com/je8xWD0qK3
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 18, 2023
"Nick’s very disappointed, understandably, as we are for him," Howe continued.
"He’s been magnificent this season for us and he doesn’t deserve to miss the game, but it is what it is and we’ll see what our options are.
“We have Loris and Mark, who have trained really well this season and have been part of the goalkeeping team all season. They’re both fit and ready to play."
Karius, who made 49 appearances in all competitions under Klopp during his time at Anfield, received another boost from his former manager post-game when the Liverpool boss stated: "I have no doubt about that (his mentality). He’s a great goalie, that’s why Newcastle signed him."
Despite the backing from his current and former manager, Newcastle fans may still be concerned given that Karius last made a competitive start all the way back in February of 2021 for Union Berlin in the Bundesliga.