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Fixture familiarity can give Liverpool an early edge next season

Liverpool’s Premier League fixtures were announced on Thursday, with the first game set to take place on September 12.

The English champions will kick off their title defence against newly-promoted Leeds United in a highly anticipated Anfield clash.

Jurgen Klopp and his team have also been scheduled to face both Chelsea (A) and Arsenal (H) in Liverpool’s opening three matches.

It can help the Reds to face two teams in the opening matches who we beat earlier on in the campaign last season.

Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge and Arsenal 3-1 at Anfield.

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LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – AUGUST 24: Mohamed Salah of Liverpool scores his team’s third goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield on August 24, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

These are good fixtures to begin the season with as we will be facing two teams who are expected to recruit heavily this summer meaning Liverpool will play both Chelsea and Arsenal while new faces are still looking for momentum.

Liverpool’s first six fixtures of 2020/21

September 12
Leeds United (H)

September 19
Chelsea (A)

September 26
Arsenal (H)

October 3
Aston Villa (A)

October 17
Everton (A)

For a consecutive season, Liverpool will begin a Premier League campaign against the previous Championship winners in the form of Leeds similarly to when they hosted Norwich on the opening day in the 2019/20 campaign.

Also, as they did last year, Liverpool will benefit from competitive action in the form of the Comunity Shield clash at Wembley on August 29.

Liverpool are scheduled to play Arsenal in a fixture that last season against Manchester City improved match sharpness in a highly contested affair to ensure the Reds were up to speed before the Premier League restart.

When considering Chelsea and Arsenal, Liverpool can take confidence against two sides who we beat at almost identical stages last season meaning the Reds should take some belief that both are winnable to kick off the season with nine points from nine.

Arsenal did beat us at the Emirates it must not be forgotten but the match was played in unforeseen circumstances following Liverpool’s title victory and the Reds themselves were the masters of their own doing during the 2-1 defeat back in July.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – JUNE 21: Dominic Calvert-Lewin of Everton gets away from Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC at Goodison Park on June 21, 2020 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

The following four

Aston Villa are another team we faced in the early stages of last season and the clash at Villa Park proved to be one of the most significant results of Liverpool’s season.

Despite trailing 1-0 in the 87th minute, Liverpool found another gear in their performance levels to grind out a crucial 2-1 victory which typified the club’s ability to grind out victories even when not at their brilliant best.

A win against Villa will set Liverpool up in perfect stead for the Merseyside derby as Klopp and his team make the short trip across Stanley Park to a ground they are yet to win at since 2016.

Everton away is a repeat of the dour 0-0 stalemate that took place in the inaugural fixture after Project Restart which explains why the intensity and ferocity of a typical derby was lacking.

The ideal scenario is of course 18 points from 18 from our opening six fixtures. Having the status of champions dictates Liverpool will have to thrive now that they begin the season as the hunted rather than the hunters.

Liverpool dropped just two points until February last season and although similar levels of consistency won’t be far off, it is more realistic to think that the Reds dropping points here and there could become a scenario that supporters should get used to.

Klopp’s ability to demand such unprecedented levels of consistency last season were nothing shy of spectacular.

Yet, this time around the gap between Liverpool and the rest of the pack is expected to be bridged after the Reds practically won the title in November last season.

Liverpool are not expected to make too many additions in the transfer window this summer yet Klopp will ensure his team are primed and ready to go again once the title defence begins in three weeks time.

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