Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has questioned the wisdom of dropping a new pitch into the Stade de France two days before the Champions League final after expressing his concerns over the quality of the surface.
The Reds face Real Madrid in a rematch of their 2018 encounter at the national stadium in Paris after the showpiece was moved there from St Petersburg in late February, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Klopp was speaking at the ground immediately before his players trained on the newly-laid grass but his first impressions were not positive.
“Usually when I say the pitch looks new, that is good news. This pitch is new since yesterday, which is not the best news – but it will be the same for both teams,” he said at his pre-match press conference.
“I saw the refs with their session and the good news is, the ball drops normal.
“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 per cent. I am really happy we are here, I would have played the game on petanque.”
Saturday saw the second of two concerts performed at the stadium with life returning to normal after Covid-19 restrictions before it is understood the new turf was driven 650 miles from northern Spain to Paris and installed on Thursday.
France play two Nations League games against Denmark and Croatia before June 13, ahead of the surface being ripped up again after the Top 14 rugby final at the end of the month.
UEFA confirmed a new pitch had been laid but did not comment further.
“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,” added Klopp.
“That’s obviously not the case. You will hear the same from (Real Madrid boss) Carlo (Ancelotti).
“Definitely, if you win you don’t care about the pitch, that is easy to say. I don’t know how bad or good it is, I only saw it. Maybe it’s perfect but it looks not perfect.
“But I hope no one makes a story about ‘Klopp moaning about the pitch’ – I’m fine. I saw it and it could look different but let’s get a feel of it.
“Normally these kind of sessions are for media, we are made to come, but today I am really happy we are here so we can feel it and pass a few balls on it.”
Real Madrid boss Ancelotti was slightly more reserved in his comments.
“Yes, I knew they were going to change it but we haven’t been out there yet and trained. I don’t think it will be an issue,” he said.
“I can’t judge that and say if he is right or not as I haven’t been out on the pitch yet.”