With Tottenham recently hosting Manchester City on a pitch badly marked and torn up after it was used as an American football field, the prospect of Anfield hosting a rugby match this weekend is an issue causing some concern.
But Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp isn’t worrying too much about New Zealand taking on England at Anfield, saying he’s been assured by the groundsman that the stadium’s pitch will be able to hold up just fine to the added abuse.
“I spoke already with our groundsman and it’s all good with the pitch,” he said. “Especially when you saw the game Tottenham played City at Wembley and the day before the NFL... that was crazy. But it’s all good, they are all fine.”
It helps Liverpool aren’t playing at home this week, with both Arsenal and their mid-week Champions League tie against Red Star on the road—even with a rugby match on Sunday, Anfield will be used competitively just once this week.
That, more than anything, should ease fears about the state of the pitch and allow Klopp and his players to enjoy hosting the New Zealand squad, which Klopp says helps to bring back memories of the start of his coaching career.
“My career started with the haka,” Klopp revealed about the pre-match chant and ritual made famous by New Zealand’s rugby players. “When I was a manager at Mainz. With my team I loved the intensity of it and everything.
“When we drove in the bus to the stadium, the last two minutes was always the haka in the bus. It brought us into a pretty special mood and we used it for two or three years, so I am always happy when I can hear it and especially live.
“It is a very interesting experience and I can only recommend it to everyone. If you have never seen it before, you have to.”