ONLY Newcastle could pull off something like that.
In sight of a first domestic trophy since 1955, only Newcastle would end up with a final suspension after being sent off in the previous Premier League game.
Only Newcastle – defensively brilliant all season – could deliver an absolutely atrocious first-half performance just eight days before their Carabao Cup clash with Manchester United.
Not that many of the club’s keen fans would have been surprised by this absolute disaster so close to a first final in 24 years.
Many would have expected something like this to happen. No wonder, then, that the Toon supporters left St. James Park quite upset.
Nick Pope, who has kept 12 Premier League games this season and is looking forward to the peak of his career at Wembley after a tough tackle in the EFL, will miss the final after a first-half red card for a Handball out of season miss area.
But the situation for a backup goalkeeper is also comically bad.
With Martin Dubravka second-choice in the cup, your third goalkeeper for Wembley would likely not be someone who hasn’t played in competitive football for two years and was last playing for an English side suffering a horror in the 2018 Champions League final.
But now it seems unbelievable that former Liverpool keeper Loris Karius will be the man to try and keep United away.
He will surely be on a mission to prove a point.
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It was a terrible night for Newcastle manager Eddie Howe’s side and they are now four league games without a win.
But while their Champions League hopes have faltered, Liverpool – like in 2021 – are on a mission to end a poor season domestically by still finishing in the top four.
Although helped by the sacking of Pope, Liverpool were already on course for victory with two goals courtesy of Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo.
Newcastle have been sluggish in the last few games, seeming to be playing with a lot more energy and looking extremely dangerous.
Miguel Almiron should have put them ahead in the fourth minute but took a heavy first touch and Alisson saved.
And then things went horribly wrong for Newcastle.
Unhappy with his team’s start, Klopp gave both kegs to Gakpo and Nunez for not working hard enough defensively.
Maybe it was just a fluke, but a minute later Nunez put the ball past Pope after Trent Alexander-Arnold threaded a clever pass between Kieran Trippier and Fabian Schar.
Guilty of not playing to the whistle, Trippier immediately called for handball but the ball caught Nunez’ chest before confidently putting the ball past Pope for his tenth competitive goal for the Reds.
Things got even worse for Trippier when he played for the side against Gakpo for the second time.
The £37million Dutchman took a touch to control Salah’s ball over the top before scoring the club’s second goal five days after his first win against Everton earlier in the week.
So 0:2 after 17 minutes. Could anything else go wrong for Newcastle? You bet.
Usually such a sure-footed, level-headed goalkeeper, Pope will spend the next few days wondering why he tried to use his head after charging out of his area to stop Mo Salah from catching Alisson’s long kick.
A simple release would have sufficed – but he panicked.
When Alisson retrieved the ball from a set piece at Newcastle, the home bench yelled at the defense that the Brazilian would long-kick the ball to Salah.
That’s exactly what happened and Pope charged off his line and eventually stopped the ball with his arm.
Referee Anthony Taylor was immediately shown a red card, although the Newcastle players felt he was not preventing a scoring opportunity as the ball went wide and defenders had cover.
Elliot Anderson’s first Premier League start lasted 23 minutes for Newcastle and was replaced by sub-keeper Dubravka.
At least Newcastle showed some courage and they were twice denied by the woodwork before half-time.
Alisson pinned a shot from Newcastle’s best player, Allan Saint-Maximin, to the crossbar while Dan Burn also saw his header bounce off the frame of the goal.
Towards the end, Sub Callum Wilson also had a great chance but forced another good save from Alisson.
But ultimately, Liverpool felt pretty comfortable with the two-goal cushion alone.
And what a week it has been for Klopp, just as everything seemed to be falling apart.
Virgil van Dijk has had a first game since January 2 and although he hasn’t been great this season Liverpool are still better when he starts in central defence.
Roberto Firmino was also awarded another run after his long spell on the sidelines.
So life is looking a little brighter for Klopp.
It’s a quick turnaround now as Liverpool are now preparing for Real Madrid’s visit on Tuesday.
What looked like an easy win for the Spaniards in a repeat of the Champions League final could turn out to be a little closer than many expected.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/7432427/newcastle-liverpool-disaster-pope-off-joelinton/ Newcastle 0 Liverpool 2: Disaster for Toon as Pope was sent off and Joelinton injured ahead of Carabao Cup final