'Losing Mohamed Salah was a big blow for us'
KIEV, Ukraine, May 27, 2018 (News Wires) - Liverpool midfielder Gini Wijnaldum admits Liverpool were rocked by the loss of Mohamed Salah in their Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.
The Reds were in control for the opening half hour in Kiev before their 44-goal winger was forced off by a shoulder injury after being dragged to the turf by Sergio Ramos.
In the Egyptian's absence, momentum shifted and Real – aided by two blunders from Loris Karius – went on to lift the trophy for a record 13time.
“I think losing Salah was a big blow for us,” Wijnaldum said.
“It seemed like a big blow the way we reacted after his injury. I think when he was on the pitch we did it well for 25 minutes but after there was less than before," the Dutch player added.
“At half-time the manager said that it looked like we were devastated about Mo but we had to let it go and change because it could not change.
“These things happen and we had to deal with it but it was difficult.”
Karius was inconsolable following the final whistle after gifting goals to Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.
“I didn't say anything because a lot of people already went to him,” Wijnaldum added.
“Sometimes you don't like it when too many people come to you.”
It was a devastating end to a fine season but the Dutch midfielder believes Liverpool will be back challenging for the big prizes once again next term.
“Sometimes those things happen in football. It is hugely frustrating but we can't change it,” he said.
“I have confidence (in this team). We have learned a lot this season, we learned a lot the season before so hopefully we can achieve great things.”