Jurgen Klopp may well be feeling vindicated in his criticism of the pitch at LASK’s Raiffeisen Arena last week, following a subsequent acknowledgement from the Austrian club.
Liverpool got their Europa League campaign off to a winning start in Linz on Thursday, defeating their hosts 3-1, although the Reds manager described the playing surface as ‘really bad’ and likening it to a ‘meadow’ (Volksblatt).
It follows similar complaints from Austria’s national team, who’ve played at the venue, and the club who call it their home have admitted that they’re trying to remedy the problems.
As per Volksblatt, a statement from LASK read: “It is a construction defect in the substructure. This causes problems with the drainage of the place. We are aware of the issue, it cannot be solved in one day because this is only possible step by step. We hope it can be resolved by October.”
Perhaps out of jealousy, opposition fans often like to vilify Klopp as a serial moaner, but in this instance he was absolutely right to call out the standard of the playing surface at the Raiffeisen Arena.
This isn’t a ‘marginal gains’ ploy like shortening the pitch to combat the threat of opposition wingers. A substandard field could result in players getting seriously injured, a concern which’ll have been on the Liverpool manager’s mind last Thursday.
To their credit, LASK have at least acknowledged that it’s an issue which needs resolving, and we hope it can be sorted before long for the benefit of the players who’ll be performing on it.
Thankfully the Reds came through their game in Austria without any lasting injury concerns, and ideally they won’t encounter any further issues in terms of the playing surface for the rest of the campaign domestically and in Europe.