Liverpool's Andy Robertson has admitted he felt Sergio Ramos was "clever" in forcing Mohamed Salah off in the Champions League final, but refuses to use it as an excuse for the defeat.
The 24-year-old Scotsman wasn't convinced there was any intention to injure the Egyptian, but felt the Spaniard knew what he was doing in tackling him roughly.
An uproar occurred among fans following the tackle after Ramos appeared to unnaturally tug Salah's arm into the ground, before cameras caught the defender smiling and laughing with the assistant referee as the Egyptian left the field in tears.
The incident led to significant anger towards Real Madrid's veteran defender from both Liverpool and Egypt fans, the latter concerned for their World Cup endeavours.
Robertson told the Mirror: “I don’t know. He was trying to get the ball off Mo. I think it is just how he has landed but Ramos is quite clever, isn’t he?”
Despite losing the final and his belief being that the Liverpool talisman could have a match-winner, Robertson refused to blame the Reds' defeat on the first half incident.
He added: “We are clutching at straws if we are saying that. It is just the way he has landed on it. It’s unfortunate. Hopefully he’ll come back bigger and stronger.”
Robertson also refused to pin the blame on Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius, whose two goal-costing mistakes significantly impacted the tie.
"We win as a team, we lose as a team. We fell short. Of course he made mistakes. He did. But we are not blaming him.
“He will hold his hands up. He has been incredible since he got the No 1 jersey. He is young and he will learn from it. He will be a top, top keeper.
“We have fallen short and there are no words that we can say to [Karius] that will make it better for him. We went around him. We all gave him a hug and tried to lift him. I don’t think anyone thought that was going to happen.”
The young Scot played brilliantly during the final, despite the defeat - including a remarkable recovery tackle to deny Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo when the Portugal international looked set to score.