Newcastle United goalkeeper Nick Pope is ruled out of the Carabao Cup final against Manchester United after being sent off against Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday (February 18). The English shot-stopper was given his marching orders after handling the ball outside his box.
Liverpool took an early 2-0 lead through Darwin Nunez (10′) and Cody Gakpo (17′). The Magpies had only conceded 14 goals in the league before the game, with Pope instrumental between the sticks.
However, the former Burnley goalkeeper had a moment of madness in the 22nd minute when he raced out of goal to prevent the advancing Mohamed Salah from scoring. He handled the ball, and referee Andre Marriner had no choice but to send him off.
That means Pope will now be suspended for Newcastle’s trip to the Wembley to face Manchester United in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday (February 26). He has kept an impressive 16 clean sheets in 27 appearances across competitions this season, so his absence will be a massive blow.
NIGHTMARE! Nick Pope is SENT OFF! 🟥
He will now MISS the Carabao Cup final…
NIGHTMARE! Nick Pope is SENT OFF! 🟥He will now MISS the Carabao Cup final… https://t.co/kDaVTZSA6T
To compound their misery, Eddie Howe’s side won’t be able to call upon backup custodian Martin Dubravka as well. The Slovakian was on loan at Old Trafford earlier in the season and appeared for the Red Devils in the Carabao Cup. So, the veteran shot-stopper will be cup-tied for the game. He will win a winner’s medal if Manchester United beat the Magpies.
That leaves Howe likely having to call upon former Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius. The German joined the Magpies as a free agent after he was let go by the Reds. He’s yet to make an appearance at St James’ Park since arriving in September.
Haven’t really slept until now… the scenes are still running through my head again and again… I’m infinitely sorry to my teammates, for you fans, and for all the staff. I know that I messed it up with the two mistakes and let you all down…
Haven’t really slept until now… the scenes are still running through my head again and again… I’m infinitely sorry to my teammates, for you fans, and for all the staff. I know that I messed it up with the two mistakes and let you all down… https://t.co/w9GixPiQDC
Karius is not a name that will enthuse Newcastle fans given his infamous performance in the 2018 UEFA Champions League final. He endured a miserable night in Kyiv, gifting Real Madrid two goals as the Merseysiders lost 3-1.
Manchester United side are still competing in three other competitions alongside the Carabao Cup.
Their fixture schedule has been intense, as they still have to face Leicester City on Sunday (February 19). They then host Barcelona in the second leg of their UEFA Europa League knockout playoff on Thursday (February 23). Howe’s men don’t play another game after the Liverpool match before the final next Sunday.
Red Devils boss Ten Hag touched on that after his side advanced to the final with a 5-0 aggregate win over Nottingham Forest in the semifinals. The Dutchman said (via the Mag):
“It is obvious Newcastle United have an advantage (when it comes to number of matches to be played before the Carabao Cup final), but it is about attitude and mentality. I have handled it before, playing a cup game after we play in Europe, when I was with Ajax, so I know how to deal with it.”
Manchester United have not won any silverware since their UEFA Europa League triumph in 2017. Meanwhile, the Magpies won the EFL Championship in 2016. However, you have to go back to 1955 for the last time the Tyneside outfit lifted a major trophy, which was the FA Cup.
Paul Merson predicts the result of Newcastle vs Liverpool and other PL GW 24 fixtures! Click here
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