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Familiar foes & January winter break – 5 things spotted from Liverpool’s fixtures – Liverpool FC

Having barely had the chance to catch our breath after a whirlwind 2022/23, the Premier League have released the fixtures for next season.

Jurgen Klopp and his team will be desperate to right the wrongs of a tricky campaign on all fronts and get back to chasing silverware next May.

The Reds’ full set of league fixtures were confirmed on Thursday morning, including a trip to Stamford Bridge on the opening day and a familiar face at the finish line.

Fans can now mentally envisage the pathway to Premier League glory at the end of the season, but Liverpool will have to navigate a difficult set of December games at Anfield if that is to materialise.

Here are five key things we noticed from the Reds’ 2023/24 Premier League schedule.

 

Opener not against a newly-promoted side

LONDON, ENGLAND - Tuesday, April 4, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp embraces Curtis Jones during the FA Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

For the first time since 2018/19, the Reds will not be starting against a team who have just come up from the Championship.

Fulham, Leeds and Norwich (on two occasions) have all been first up for Klopp’s men in recent seasons, affording them what is, on paper at least, a healthy start to proceedings.

Chelsea will be Liverpool’s first opponents of the new campaign on August 13, with Liverpool having requested that the first game be played away from Anfield to allow extra time to complete the development of the Anfield Road Stand.

It is not a game which has yielded many goals in the last four encounters, with the league meetings last season and domestic cup finals in 2021/22 all finishing goalless after 90 minutes.

 

A brutal December at Anfield

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Friday, December 30, 2022: Liverpool's Thiago Alcântara reacts as Leicester City score the opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The festive season is renowned for being a busy time in the football calendar and this season is no exception.

Liverpool will host Man United (16th), Arsenal (23rd) and Newcastle (30th) within the space of two weeks in December, with all three sides having finished in the top four in 2022/23.

If the Reds are to mount a serious title challenge they will need to overcome a hectic Christmas schedule, in which trips to Crystal Palace and Burnley will also be sprinkled before the new year.

 

A predictable end

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 22, 2022: Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté (L) and Wolverhampton Wanderers' Raúl Jiménez during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Death, taxes and Wolves on the final day!

It is the third time in five seasons that the Reds will come up against Wolves at Anfield in the season finale, with the previous two occasions leading to Man City picking up the Premier League title by a single point.

Optimists might view it as an opportunity for a third time lucky, while others are afraid we have seen the ending of this film one too many times before.

 

Winter break in January

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 25, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp applauds the supporters after the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace FC and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Fans will have noticed the gap between the trip to Bournemouth on January 13 and the visit of Chelsea on January 31.

That is because there will be a winter break after the turn of the year, where the fixtures will be split into two sets of five across the weekends commencing January 13 and January 20.

The Premier League have tried to introduce a mid-season break into the schedule in recent years, but the coronavirus pandemic and Qatar World Cup have at times made the logistics more difficult.

Of course, we know the extended schedule does not always honour the concept of a winter break, with Liverpool asked to play an FA Cup replay during the period in which the 2019/20 break was originally planned.

You can bet Klopp will be just as disgruntled if the same proves true this time around.

 

A gentler sprint to the line

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 30, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

While the cliche dictates that there are no easy games in football, Liverpool’s April and May run-in could certainly have worked out less favourably.

If the Reds can position themselves within striking distance of top spot with six weeks to go, Klopp and his players will certainly fancy themselves to make a serious challenge for the league title as the games draw in.

Crystal Palace (H), Fulham (A), West Ham (A), Tottenham (H), Aston Villa (A) and Wolves (H) are Liverpool’s final six games of the campaign – who combined for an average finish of 10th last season – a run the manager would look to take 18 points from when his side are at their swashbuckling best.

Man City will go into the season as heavy favourites after winning five of the last six Premier Leagues and having just captured the treble, but we know all too well what this set of players remain capable of with their backs to the wall.

Let’s hope we see less 2022/23 and more of the quadruple chasers that went before it. Up the Reds!

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