HOPE: Karius' Carabao Cup final loss was far from another horror show

CRAIG HOPE: It wasn’t the redemption story Loris Karius dreamt of, but Carabao Cup final defeat was far from another horror show… only time will tell whether he can lay his Champions League ghost to rest and start a fresh chapter in England

  • Newcastle United suffered heartbreak in the Carabao Cup final, losing 2-0 to Manchester United on Sunday
  • Loris Karius played his first game for an English club since his 2018 Champions League nightmare at Liverpool
  • The German keeper stood in for Eddie Howe as Nick Pope was suspended and Martin Dubravka was cup tied

Loris Karius is unlikely to play ever again for Newcastle. But at least this time in reverting to the shadows they will not feel nearly so dark.

We still do not know how deep the cuts ran from that tearful and traumatic night in Kyiv five years ago, when two of his howlers led to Real Madrid goals in a 3-1 defeat for Liverpool in the final of the Champions League.

Given this was his first appearance for an English club since – and first for any team in two years – you suspect that some of those wounds remain unhealed. This had the potential to be scarring, too.

The circumstance of his promotion from fourth-choice goalkeeper to cup-final starter in a matter of weeks had captured the imagination, especially of those with a ghoulish thirst for failure. It felt like the whole world was waiting for Karius to drop the ball, quite literally.

Thankfully, for him, they are still waiting. The problem is, Karius must now wait for his next start, and the chances are that will be at a club other than Newcastle.

There was no happy return for Loris Karius, whose Newcastle side lost in the Carabao Cup final against Manchester United

The German goalkeeper was hoping to make amends after his Champions League horror show with Liverpool in 2017-18

Karius made two shocking mistakes for Liverpool to gift Real Madrid two second-half goals and Champions League glory

The stand-in goalkeeper made a few top saves throughout the Carabao Cup final but ultimately lost 2-0 to Manchester United

As of today, the German is back behind Nick Pope and Martin Dubravka – suspended and cup-tied respectively here – and with his contract up in the summer, perhaps it will be that his sole entry into the club’s history books will be this final. It will not be unkind on him, either.

He was left exposed by his defence for Man United’s first goal – their high line was low on intelligence – and Casemiro headed home relatively unopposed from a Luke Shaw free-kick.

And, while you feared culpability for their second soon after, there was significant mitigation. Those with a heart peered through their fingertips as Karius could only get his to Marcus Rashford’s shot and the ball landed in the net. 

But in committing his weight to block a low effort, the keeper was handicapped by gravity as a deflection off defender Sven Botman took the ball high. It would be cruel to blame Karius, even though some were tempted to claim that Pope would have made the same save.

But thereafter Man United could not find a way beyond the 29-year-old, and with a further six shots on target they certainly tried. Because of that, Newcastle remained in the game. There were two excellent saves that were anything but routine.

Come full-time, there was a big hug from co-owner Amanda Staveley. It was both consolation for the team’s loss but also thanks for a performance that many thought beyond him. The fairytale of redemption was not forthcoming – victory was needed for that – but nor was it a horror show.

Eddie Howe had challenged Karius to ‘rewrite the story of his career’ after his unexpected call-up. All things considered, the keeper will probably take what unfolded. It was no bestseller, but Karius did not want to make headlines.

Who knows where, and when, his next chapter will be written.

Brazil midfielder Casemiro leapt on Luke Shaw’s free-kick to head Manchester United in front in the 33rd minute at Wembley

In-form England international Marcus Rashford forced an own goal from Sven Botman, who deflected in Man United’s second

Rashford’s strike bobbled off the Dutch defender and flew over the head of Newcastle’s keeper who had already committed

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