Jurgen Klopp has raised concerns about the playing surface at the Stade de France ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, saying it was an “interesting idea” to lay a new pitch less than 72 hours before kick-off in Paris.
The entire grass surface at the stadium, which last hosted a Champions League final when Barcelona defeated Arsenal in 2006, was removed on Tuesday and relaid over the following two days, with the work only being completed in the early hours of Thursday morning.
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Although both Liverpool and Madrid spent an hour training on the pitch on Friday evening, Klopp said that it is “not perfect.”
And while the Liverpool manager was keen to stress that he was not “moaning” about the playing surface, he voiced concerns over the timing of the operation to roll out a new pitch.
“I don’t know how bad or good it is, I only saw it,” Klopp said. “The refs were training on it and I saw the ball bouncing.
“Maybe it’s perfect, but it looks not perfect. I hope no one makes a story about ‘Klopp moaning about the pitch.’ I’m fine.
“This pitch is new since yesterday, which is not the best news. But it will be the same for both teams. You can see the lines where they put the pieces of the pitch [together], which is what we aren’t used to.
“That someone thought it was a good idea to bring the pitch the day before to the stadium is an interesting idea. But it didn’t kill my mood a percent. I am really happy we are here, I would have played the game on pétanque.”
Despite the issue with the pitch, Klopp said it would impact on the quality of the game in which Real are chasing a 14th Champions League triumph and Liverpool their seventh.
“I think both teams are technical teams and you would wish in a dream world that the pitch is the best you ever saw in your life,” Klopp said. “That’s obviously not the case. You will hear the same from Carlo [Ancelotti]. Definitely if you win you don’t care about the pitch, that is easy to say.”