Liverpool centre-backs Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk issued support to stricken goalkeeper Loris Karius after Saturday’s Champions League final.
Karius was at fault for Real Madrid’s first and last goals in Kyiv, rolling the ball to Karim Benzema for the opener and fumbling Gareth Bale’s long-range shot for the clincher.
The German left the field in floods of tears after pleading with Liverpool supporters, and found his position as No. 1 immediately under scrutiny as the result of one performance.
But speaking to BBC Sport after the game, Lovren vowed to “stick behind” his goalkeeper, stressing that it was a team effort.
“It’s tough, it’s heartbreaking and something we never saw in our heads before the game, we just saw the [positive] one,” he said.
“They scored a goal, surprisingly I would say, then we tried to come back, we came back but then they scored one of the best goals I’ve ever seen.
“People will point the finger at the goalkeeper. We win together, we lose together, we will stick behind him.
“I feel sorry for the fans, we wish we could do better. We promise that we will come back even stronger next year.”
Van Dijk played in the Champions League final just five months after joining the Reds from Southampton in a world-record £75 million deal.
And as well as backing Karius following his nightmare performance, the Dutchman pledged to use this disappointment to fuel future successes.
“To lose a final is the worst feeling, and a feeling I never want to have again,” he explained.
“It’s a team responsibility: we win together, we lose together.
“At times today we made it very difficult for Real. Unfortunately we lost, everybody is very disappointed but it’s not only one player who gets the blame.
“We all win together, we all lose together, and in the end we should be proud of ourselves.
“To be here, to represent Liverpool over here, I think almost every team in England wants to be in our position.”
Van Dijk was asked to summarise the feeling in the dressing room after the game, and continued to highlight his winning mentality.
“Everyone was upset, everyone was disappointed, and that’s normal I think: if you’re not disappointed then you’re not a real winner,” he said.
“We had our opportunities today and unfortunately Real were a little bit better.
Lovren added: “It’s difficult, it’s just heartbreaking. No words to describe that, it’s tough.”
Both centre-backs produced excellent performances in Kyiv, largely keeping Cristiano Ronaldo quiet, and it is unfortunate that Karius’ errors undermined their efforts.
But the pair showed maturity in supporting their stopper, as Karius will certainly need it.