Loris Karius has not given up on his dream ending despite seeing his redemption story take a painful twist.
The 29-year-old German made his first competitive appearance for almost two years in Newcastle’s Carabao Cup final clash with Manchester United on Sunday as he was handed an unlikely opportunity to atone for his Champions League final nightmare for Liverpool in 2018.
Karius, thrust into the limelight by Nick Pope’s untimely suspension, ultimately finished on the losing side once again as Casemiro’s header and a Marcus Rashford goal – given as a Sven Botman own goal at first – handed United a 2-0 victory.
He said: “If we had won the cup, it would have been a great story, but unfortunately it’s not the dream ending.
“But who knows? Maybe we’ll be here again next year with Newcastle, maybe I’ll play another one. You never know. The last week showed me again that in football, anything is possible, up and down, so who knows?
“I’m not writing anything off, so hopefully the story will have a very good ending one day.”
Karius, who joined the Magpies on an initial short-term deal in September which has since been extended to the end of the season, was some distance from the first team when he arrived at St James’ Park.
However, when Pope was dismissed for handling outside his area during last Saturday’s 2-0 Premier League defeat by Liverpool, he was catapulted up the pecking order with Martin Dubravka cup-tied having already played for United in this season’s competition and Karl Darlow out on loan.
Karius said: “I was watching the game, obviously, and I didn’t realise, maybe, in the first moment that he [Dubravka] was cup-tied. For example in Germany, I think it’s different.
“But then obviously my phone went off quite a bit, so I knew I would probably be playing the week after.
“That wakes you up, obviously, in the first moment. I know things can change quickly, but from then on, it was just having a great week to go into a game like this full of confidence.”
It's a cup final, it's Wembley – it doesn't really get better than this.
Karius’ situation sparked an intriguing narrative, although if he was the talk of Tyneside and further afield, he did not allow it to get to him.
Asked about his build-up to the game, he said: “Pretty relaxed because I didn’t really read much or pay much attention.
“I just focused on the training to get in a good rhythm for the game and tried to prepare as well as I could to be ready myself and then you go into the game with a good feeling, so that was what I tried to do.
“I didn’t really pay much attention to everything that was going on.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) February 26, 2023
“There’s always pressure to perform, but I tried to enjoy it. It’s a cup final, it’s Wembley – it doesn’t really get better than this.
“You have to enjoy these moments and soak it all in, and that’s what I tried to do.
“Five minutes in the first half cost us the game. In the second half, United defended really well, didn’t really give us many opportunities. They just brought the game home very well.”