Newcastle United head into their biggest game of the decade on Sunday without their first, second or even third choice goalkeeper and are set to rely on Loris Karius in the Carabao Cup final.
Eddie Howe kept the faith in Karius
Eyebrows were raised when Karius was brought into the fold at Newcastle following the untimely departure of second-choice ‘keeper, Martin Dubravka given the fact that the German stopper had faded into obscurity following his disastrous final appearance for Liverpool in the Champions League final.
However, Eddie Howe maintained belief in Karius, even opting to extend his stay on Tyneside while allowing Karl Darlow to leave on loan to Hull – a move he wasn’t entirely comfortable with, and now we are seeing the ramifications first-hand.
Howe doubled down on this in his post-match press conference following the Liverpool game: “That was the reason for taking a player of his profile,” said Howe. “He has experience of the big games, so I’ve got no doubt or issue over his ability to step in. He’s continued to improve and impress in training.”
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It’s not easy playing football with a concussion
One thing about that fateful Champions League game that often gets overlooked in the Loris Karius story is that he took a hefty elbow to the head from Sergio Ramos earlier in the game and was later revealed to have been concussed for the remainder of the game. So although all the rhetoric was about how Karius lost Liverpool the game, the blame really lies with the medical team for letting him play on.
The 29-year-old has shouldered that burden for two years and now has his opportunity to repay the faith Eddie Howe has shown in him, bringing him in from the cold, offering him £30k-a-week to essentially sit on the sidelines and watch Nick Pope work miracles. Now is the time for him to earn that pay cheque, time for him to put that nightmare behind him once and for all by lifting his second trophy as a Newcastle man following the mid-season Diriyah Season Cup win against Al-Hilal.
Eddie Howe believes in Karius. I believe in Karius. We believe in Karius.