Kiev – Georginio Wijnaldum admits Mohamed Salah’s devastating shoulder injury was the decisive moment in Liverpool’s painful Champions League final loss to Real Madrid.
Jurgen Klopp’s side had made a strong start to Saturday’s showdown in Kiev before Salah was forced off midway through the first half.
Liverpool’s Egypt forward – who scored 44 goals in all competitions this season – was injured after crashing to the turf following a challenge with Real’s Sergio Ramos.
Salah walked off in tears and Liverpool’s performance suffered an immediate dip as his team-mates struggled to adjust without their talisman.
Real took full advantage, eventually running out 3-1 winners thanks to two errors by Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius and a stunning overhead kick by Gareth Bale.
Reds midfielder Wijnaldum conceded the loss of Salah was setback from which they couldn’t recover.
“I think it was a big blow for us, it seemed like a big blow for us the way the way we reacted after his injury,” Wijnaldum said.
“I think when he was on the pitch we did it well for 25 minutes but (after the injury) there was less than before.
“Those things happen and we had to deal with it but it was difficult.”
Asked what Klopp said at half-time the Dutch international added: “He said that it looked like we were devastated about Mo but we had to let it go and change because it could not change.
“Sometimes those things happen in football. It is hugely frustrating but we can’t change it.”
Egypt’s team doctor Mohamed Abou El-Ela said in a statement that, according to information from Liverpool’s medical staff, Salah has sustained only ligament damage and he remained optimistic he would still feature in the World Cup.