Liverpool will raise the curtain on the Premier League season when they host promoted Norwich on the evening of Friday 9 August and if the release of the fixture list on Thursday felt early – as
Jurgern Klopp’s team might have been kings of Europe, but they have been given a demanding start to the new domestic campaign.
They will face each of their big-six rivals in the opening 12 rounds of fixtures but they may be cheered to learn that five of their six Champions League group phase ties will be followed by home league games. It is a detail that is often highlighted and Spurs have fared rather less well in this area, with only two home matches after Champions League group ties. Liverpool finish the season against Arsenal (away), Chelsea (home) and Newcastle (away).
Manchester City start the defence of their title at West Ham. They appear to have a relatively gentle start but will have the red pens out to circle the period from late February to early April, when they play Arsenal (home) Manchester United (away), Chelsea (away) and Liverpool (home) in five rounds of games.
Manchester United host the highest-profile meeting of the opening weekend, against Chelsea on Sunday 11 August, and the first four of their fixtures against big-six rivals are at Old Trafford. For Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s team the defining period will be from New Year’s Day to mid-March, when they have trips to Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs – plus the Manchester derby at home – in 10 rounds of matches.
The Championship winners, Norwich, face a baptism of fire. After the trip to Liverpool, they have home games against Chelsea and Manchester City in rounds three and five. Sheffield United, another promoted club, must play Manchester City at home and away, along with games at Liverpool and Arsenal, in five rounds from 28 December.
Spurs entertain the play-off winners, Aston Villa, on the opening Saturday and their first four meetings with big-six rivals are away. Chelsea have a crunch sequence from 22 January when they host Arsenal, Manchester United and Spurs in four rounds, while Arsenal will look at a tough start features Liverpool (away), Spurs (home) and Manchester United (away) in seven rounds.