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Jurgen Klopp reacts to Liverpool flop Loris Karius facing Man Utd in EFL Cup final | Football

Ex-Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius looks set to start the EFL Cup final (Pictures: Getty)

Jurgen Klopp has told Newcastle United they can ‘absolutely rely on’ Loris Karius as the former Liverpool goalkeeper prepares to start the EFL Cup final against Manchester United.

Eddie Howe’s side will be without first-choice goalkeeper Nick Pope in Sunday’s EFL Cup final after he was sent off during Saturday’s Premier League defeat to Liverpool.

Pope came racing out of his box to intercept a long through ball from Liverpool’s Alisson, but misjudged his attempt at a header and ended up dragging the ball away from Mohamed Salah with his arm.

A one-game suspension means Pope will miss the EFL Cup final against Manchester United, but Newcastle are also without second-choice keeper Martin Dubravka, who is cup-tied following his loan spell at Old Trafford earlier in the season.

That leaves former Liverpool goalkeeper Karius and Newcastle-born Mark Gillespie as the two options available to Howe.

Karius, who is best remembered for his error-strewn performance in the 2018 Champions League final against Real Madrid, joined Newcastle in September but is yet to feature for the club.

The 29-year-old, who made 49 appearances for Liverpool, has not played a competitive game of football since February 2021.

Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope was sent off against Liverpool (Picture: Getty)

But Karius still appears to be ahead of Gillespie, 30, who is also yet to make an appearance for Newcastle and spent seven years at Carlisle United earlier in his career.

‘Yeah, I heard about that,’ Klopp said when asked about Karius’ potential comeback in the EFL Cup final. ‘I think they [Newcastle] can absolutely rely on him, there’s no doubt about that.

‘He’s a great goalie, that’s why Newcastle signed him, but of course unlucky for Nick Pope in the moment.

‘Absolutely [it’s a good opportunity for him]. This is what he [Karius] was working for all the time, absolutely.’

Former Manchester United loanee Dubravka, meanwhile, has backed whoever replaces Pope to do a job for Newcastle, who are aiming to win a first major trophy since 1969.

‘It’s unbelievable, you couldn’t write the script,’ Dubravka told BBC Radio Newcastle after the Premier League defeat to Liverpool.

‘I can’t play, he’s out of the match because of the red card – after so many games playing, to reach the final and all of a sudden he can’t play, I feel sorry for him.

Eddie Howe has a big decision to make ahead of the EFL Cup final (Picture: Getty)

‘That would be amazing for him, for the club to achieve something like this, but we still have other guys now, we need to support them and prepare them for the match because mentally it’s going to be very difficult for them.

‘Our group is very close. All the keepers, we spend so much time together and there is chemistry there which is absolutely great, so we will do everything that is possible to prepare them and be there for them if they need us.

‘Even if they need to talk, to feel the relief or something like that – I’m sure the guys can handle this situation.’

Newcastle boss Howe added: ‘It’s harsh for Nick [Pope] because he’s been magnificent for us and to miss the next game is a huge blow for him.

‘I’ve seen him and he looks visibly upset. He’s been outstanding for us this season. We’ve got a decision to make. Mark [Gillespie] has trained very well this season as has Loris [Karius].’

Newcastle have not won any of their last four Premier League games and face a Manchester United side who have moved to within five points of leaders Arsenal under Erik ten Hag.

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