Liverpool’s fixtures for 2020/21 have been released, but what could be the defining periods of the Reds’ title defence?
We have taken another step closer towards the start of the new season, with Jurgen Klopp‘s champions learning how their campaign will pan out.
It promises to be a relentless campaign as matches are squeezed in in quickfire time after the impact of the coronavirus, giving Klopp and his players little respite.
Here are the key periods that we think could define Liverpool’s season.
* Note: All fixtures subject to change once TV companies make their picks.
Disjointed, Awkward November
Liverpool’s fixtures look relatively kind in the opening couple of months, with a blend of tricky outings and winnable matches often coming alternately, rather than back-to-back.
When November rolls around, however, the Reds look set to be handed their first real challenging spell of the season, both in terms of opponents and their rhythm being affected.
Liverpool and City look likely to be vying for glory once again, so the victor in Manchester could gain a huge advantage, as was the case when the Reds beat their rivals at home last November.
An irritating international break then arrives to halt the momentum. The visit of Leicester after the break is that little bit more awkward.
On paper, the Seagulls are no great issue for Klopp’s men – Liverpool have won the last nine meetings, in all competitions – but a potential evening affair under the lights on the south coast could make it a challenge.
March and April are so often the months that feel most pivotal in a season.
If the visit of promoted Fulham is an appealing opening to March, there is then a run of three big tests, not to mention another international break threatening to cause havoc.
The Blues will have former Liverpool target Timo Werner in their ranks, and possibly Kai Havertz as well, making them a fierce attacking outfit.
April then starts with Arsenal away. Mikel Arteta is threatening to change the Gunners’ fortunes for the better and there is every chance they are battling for a top four finish.
The Champions League also has to be taken into account, assuming Liverpool haven’t been knocked out by that point.
The competition will be at its last-16 and quarter-final stage in March and April, meaning four more high-octane fixtures could be played in midweek during the tough league run.
Tough Start, More Favourable Finish
As an overall summary, the fixture list appears to have dealt the Reds a relatively strong hand.
When it comes to the end of the campaign, however, the final eight games are generous.
It is worth tracking City’s fixtures, too, as Pep Guardiola’s side aim to bounce back after such a poor season by their high standards.