Not since the tradition of stag- dos the night before a marriage have medications for a big day gone relatively so spectacularly wrong. noway mind the fact that Newcastle have lost for the first time at home this season, that Liverpool have closed the gap on them to six points with a game in hand and that their defending was as coherent as said bachelor after his bachelorette partybender.
Rather, it’s the realisation that goalkeeper Nick Pope will be suspended for coming Sunday’s EFL Cup final with Manchester United that will feel worse than any leftover for Eddie Howe when he wakes this morning.
Pope will be away, presumably tied to a lamppost wearing red L plates. For it was the rookiest of crimes that has denied him a place at Wembley, a straight red card after misgauging a throughball and handling designedly outside of his penalty area.
It’s cruel on the England man, who has been magnific this season. But not to worry. Newcastle have the suitable Martin Dubrvaka, who came on then and didn’t concede, and Karl Darlow as back- over. Except, Dubravka is mug- tied. Ironically, he only gets a winner’s order if Man United are victorious, the club he represented on loan before this season.
Darlow, meanwhile, is on loan at Hull and can not berecalled.Step forward- or, more likely, equivocation meanly from the Loris Karius. Should he start in the final, it’ll be nearly two times to the day since his last competitive appearance for Union Berlin.
Oh, and his last spin for an English club? That would be the titleholders League final with Liverpool in 2018. It was there, in Kyiv against Real Madrid, that he was at fault for two Real Madrid pretensions in a 3- 1 defeat. Jurgen Klopp didn’t play him ever again and, while polite and complimentary then, he gave kindly cropped answers when asked if his former player was ready to be thrown into another final. But if the German lost all faith in Karius, he’s sluggishly recovering it in his current charges. They were ruinous during a 12- nanosecond period in the first half that brought two pretensions and forced Pope’s redundance.
Let us not declare them back to their stylish, but the sight of Klopp’s candescent whites through a smile rather than a logjam was evidence of his happiness. It should be noted that Newcastle started like the proverbial house on fire, only to end up with their fritters well and truly burnt. Allan Saint- Maximin, in his last investigation before the mug final, had done more in 10 twinkles than the former two matches combined.
Indeed, Miguel Almiron should have scored on four twinkles when played clear by Saint- Maximin, but his touch was heavy and his finish soft, allowing Alisson to smother. It felt like the kind of big game Howe’s side demanded to concentrate minds ahead of the mug final. But also, uncharacteristically, they switched off. You could have driven the open-top machine Newcastle have on buttress through the middle of their defence when, in the 12th nanosecond, Trent Alexander- Arnold dropped a ball over the top. The nature of Liverpool’s alternate thing, on 17 twinkles, will also do prodigies for confidence ahead of Tuesday’s titleholders Lea gue tie with Real Madrid.
Fabinho set up Mo Salah and he produced a beach- wedge to lift over a drowsy backline for Cody Gakpo, who demanded only a putter to convert from close range. ‘ I loved the pretensions, ’ said Klopp. Given Newcastle hadn’t scored doubly in the league since Boxing Day, it felt like game over indeed before Pope’s solecism. That came in the 22nd nanosecond when Alisson asked all feathers of questions of his fellow keeper with a low half- blitz downfield.
Pope didn’t have the answers and, as he deigned to head clear, he properly lost his head and handled. It said important that adjudicator Anthony Taylor, despite the red card and VAR checks on both pretensions, wasn’t booed off at half- time. He and his platoon got every call spot on. One grouch, and this is presumably not the fault of Taylor.