Newcastle: Jamie Redknapp slams laws after Nick Pope’s red card
Nick Pope’s red card for Newcastle United this weekend has been slammed by Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp as he feels it is too harsh a punishment.
The Lowdown: Nick Pope puts Newcastle down to 10
Newcastle were already 2-0 down when Pope decided to meet a long ball towards his penalty area, but his misjudgement saw him handle the ball, leaving referee Paul Tierney no choice but to send the England man off.
Threatening to put the game out of sight at an emotionally charged St James’ Park, Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson sent a long punt downfield towards Mohamed Salah, and while Pope beat the Egyptian to the ball, he illegally denied the Reds winger a goalscoring opportunity in the process.
It means that Pope will now miss the Carabao Cup final against Manchester United next weekend, but there was sympathy for the former Burnley star in the Sky Sports studio.
The Latest: Jamie Redknapp fumes over Pope’s red
Speaking on Sky’s live coverage of the game (18/02/2022; 18.20), Redknapp acknowledged that the referee had no choice but to give Pope his marching orders, though could not hide his disdain for the laws of the game.
He said: “That’s the rule. Do you know what, not because the guy’s going to miss a cup final, I think it’s always been a terrible rule.
“I don’t like it, he’s not meant to do it. The lad is now going to miss a cup final, and you’ve got a player trying to get back on the goalline…
“I think that’s a rule that has to change, unless it’s right outside the box and he does it completely on purpose. I really feel sorry for Newcastle and Nick Pope, there.”
The Verdict: Big task for Eddie Howe
Going without your goalkeeper is one thing, but missing the player with the most clean sheets in the Premier League this season ahead of the club’s biggest match for over two decades is hugely unfortunate timing for all concerned.
Of course, there is no debate to be had over Tierney’s decision to send Pope for an early bath, as Pope clearly made a mess of his attempted clearance and stopped Salah racing through for a third Liverpool goal.
While the severity of Pope’s transgression perhaps doesn’t warrant such a harsh punishment, he will have known the risks having been so far out of his box, and would have been wiser to either play it safer or hand Salah the chance to extend the visitors’ lead – though that is far easier to say in hindsight and from afar.
So although we agree the punishment may not fit the crime, we are not as sympathetic towards Pope as Redknapp is – particularly with the cup final in mind, as it arguably makes the Magpies’ task next Sunday a taller order than it already was.
Howe is ironically unable to field the cup-tied Martin Dubravka against his former loan side, so No 3 ‘keeper Loris Karius potentially leaves the Toon significantly weaker between the sticks – especially if the German’s big-game previous is anything to go by.