Liverpool’s Alisson Becker went through special training routines ahead of the Champions League final after Jurgen Klopp revealed his concerns over a freshly laid pitch.
A new surface had been rolled out at the Stade de France just two days before the Reds faced Real Madrid, which drew criticism from Klopp and pundits ahead of the game.
France’s national stadium will host the final awarded to them in March after the original venue, the Gazprom Arena in St. Petersburg, was stripped of the honor following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A concert for a French rock band took place in Paris just a week before the final, with a new playing surface laid less than 48 hours before the showpiece event.
The news drew particular anger from Klopp, who said: “Usually when I say the pitch looks new, that’s good news. This ground is new since yesterday, which is not the best news – but it will be the same for both teams.
“I saw the referees with their session and the good news is that the ball drops normally.
“You can see the lines where they put the pieces of the land [together]what we are not used to.
“That someone thought it was a good idea to bring the pitch the day before to the stadium is an interesting idea.
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“But it didn’t kill my mood by one percent. I’m really happy we’re here, I would have played the game of petanque [boules] to research.
“I think both teams are technical teams and you would – in a dream world – wish the pitch was the best you have ever seen in your life.
” This is obviously not the case. You will hear the same from Carlo [Ancelotti].
“Certainly if you win you don’t care about the pitch, that’s easy to say. I don’t know how good or bad it is, I’ve only seen it. Maybe it’s perfect but it doesn’t look perfect.
“But I hope nobody makes a fuss about ‘Klopp moaning on the pitch’ – I’m fine. I’ve seen it and it might look different, but let’s try to feel it.
“Normally these kind of sessions are for the media, we are brought in, but today I am really happy that we are here so that we can feel it and pass a few balls over it.
talkSPORT’s Andy Townsend was at the Stade de France to watch the Reds training and noticed they were already taking the new playing surface into account.
He said: “The goalkeeper coaches were shooting balls at Alisson [Becker] from the edge of the box, deliberately kicking them into the ground around the six-yard area just to see how it comes off the surface.
“So there’s clearly concern there, and why wouldn’t there be, of course, new ground being laid, you don’t know exactly how it’s going to react, you just want to understand a little rebound.
“They were spraying it while the Liverpool players were warming up and going through their routines, they were spraying areas all around them with it, so it’s less than ideal.
“I understand they feel they had to, they feel they had to make those changes, but there’s nothing worse than a brand new pitch, especially if it’s playing a bit unpredictable and ‘it’s flat in areas.’
Stéphane Henchoz, who won a treble with Liverpool in 2001, also spoke to talkSPORT about the playing surface.
He told the Weekend Sports Breakfast: “I saw the pitch yesterday and you could see it’s brand new pitch, and obviously when you do that you need a good two weeks to make sure the pitch is in good condition.
“It won’t be the best, that’s for sure, we could see that.
“I think there was a gig last Saturday and they didn’t cancel it, unfortunately, so they must have had a brand new pitch this week.
“I think it’s a bit of a shame, but I hope it won’t affect the quality of the game itself.”
Tune in to talkSPORT for LIVE commentary of Liverpool v Real Madrid in the Champions League final – Saturday May 28 – Kick off: 8.00pm BST
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