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Eddie Howe: Loris Karius is ready to play | We haven't discussed 2018 Champions League final

Loris Karius made two bad errors in Liverpool's 2018 Champions League final defeat; German battling with Mark Gillespie for Carabao Cup final start after Nick Pope red card; Watch Man Utd vs Newcastle on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Football from 3pm; kick-off 4.30pm

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Karius has had loan spells at Besiktas and Union Berlin since the Champions League final and joined Newcastle in September

Eddie Howe has backed Loris Karius to perform if he is selected for the Carabao Cup final, live on Sky Sports, despite the German not featuring for an English club since his nightmare Champions League display for Liverpool in 2018.

The goalkeeper made two bad errors in Liverpool's 3-1 defeat in the final of Europe's top club competition five years ago, with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp later putting the mistakes "100 per cent" down to concussion Karius experienced in the game.

However, despite that explanation, Karius did not play for Liverpool again. He spent two seasons as a regular on loan at Besiktas in Turkey, had a bit-part role while loaned to Union Berlin and then spent last season back at Liverpool but with no prospect of first-team football.

Newcastle signed him on a free contract in September 2022 but he has remained down the pecking order.

That changed dramatically on Saturday, when Nick Pope was sent off and suspended for Sunday's final against Manchester United, with Martin Dubravka cup-tied and Karl Darlow out on loan.

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Karius is now battling with Mark Gillespie - who hasn't played for Newcastle since 2020 - for a start at Wembley and Howe has backed the 29-year-old to perform.

"I've never really discussed [the 2018 final] at any length with him," Howe told Sky Sports. "We've all got stuff that's happened in our careers and our histories that you learn from and he's no different in that respect.

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"Since day one, since he's come here, he started where he hadn't had a lot of work before joining us, he's trained with our goalkeeper coaches in a really good way and I think his general performances in training have improved as he's spent more time with us.

"I think he's in a good place and he's ready to play."

Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius looks at the ball after a fumble allowed Real Madrid's Gareth Bale to score his side's 3rd goal during the Champions League Final
Image: Loris Karius' mistake allowed Real Madrid's Gareth Bale to score in 2018

Howe reiterated his sympathy for Pope, who was shown a straight red for handling the ball outside his box at the feet of Mohamed Salah, but says his alternative choice - whether it is Karius or Gillespie - will slot into Newcastle's regular training drills, with no special attention given to the situation.

"I'm feeling disappointed for Nick," said Howe. "That was my whole emotion after the game. Someone who has given his all for the team, he's been outstanding this year, I felt for him.

"But also pleased for another goalkeeper who gets an opportunity. We have to be very positive about our situation, about the game. Yes, it's a blow to lose Nick but we still believe in the team and group we have.

"That's exactly why you have a squad of goalkeepers and to have a goalkeeper of Loris' experience and Mark's experience… they've both played a lot of football in their careers. I've got no doubt about their match fitness because of the way they train.

Loris Karius could start Newcastle's Carabao Cup final with Manchester United
Image: Loris Karius could start Newcastle's Carabao Cup final with Manchester United

"Yes, I've had conversations with both players and they're in a good place.

"Our work won't change, it will just have different personnel in it. The work itself is very consistent. I believe in that from a defensive perspective, I don't believe in change. I think you have an idea of how you defend as a team and then, depending on personnel, you work the same way.

"This season as a team we've defended brilliantly. Ok we had a challenge against Liverpool and they unpicked us a couple of times but that's been really unlike us this season, so we go to work normally this week."

'We're lucky to have experienced goalkeepers'

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Dan Burn believes Newcastle have other goalkeepers that are match ready with experience after Nick Pope was sent off against Liverpool and will miss the Carabao Cup final against Manchester United.

Dan Burn believes whoever fills Pope's place will be up to the task. He told Sky Sports: "We've got experienced goalkeepers. Loz has played for Liverpool, played in very big games, Champions League final. Mark has been involved at Wembley with Carlisle.

"We're lucky we've got players of experience in that position. The way we play on a Saturday is the way we train all week, I'm confident the lads are both match ready.

"It's no lie that Popey will be a big miss. He's done very good things this season and has been a big part of why we've been so defensively solid. We're confident in the squad we've got that we have players that can come in and do the job."

'Pope absence hands Man Utd CC trophy'

Sky Sports' Paul Merson:

"I feel for Newcastle. It's such a shame with the Nick Pope situation. I think the rules have got to change. You're talking about someone who has been sent off in a totally different competition. It's not the Premier League. I know he's done it, but he's been punished.

"He's now going to miss a final that he might never get the chance to play in again. It's such a shame. I don't see anything but a Man Utd win now.

"You're talking about playing your third-choice goalkeeper against Man United who are bang in form. If there was one player that Eddie Howe would want in his team for that final it's Pope. Pope saves you. I am worried for Newcastle."

Watch Man Utd vs Newcastle on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Football from 3pm; kick-off 4.30pm

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