Manchester United have an eye-catching opener to the Premier league season at home to Chelsea while Manchester City will start the defence of their title at West Ham

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 it always does it has nonetheless generated the usual scrutiny and excitement.

It was only 12 days ago that Liverpool were finishing what can now be called last season with their Champions League final triumph over Tottenham in Madrid, and Jrgen Klopps team 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
Manchester City celebrate last seasons Premier League triumph. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

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 Solskjrs team the defining period will be from New Years 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.

Quick guide

Five games to watch in the new Premier League season

Liverpool v Manchester City, 9 November

Pep Guardiola’s back-to-back Premier League champions renew their rivalry with Jrgen Klopp’s European champions in their first meeting since landing their latest respective silverware. Liverpool pushed City all the way in an epic title race last season and have home advantage as they bid to draw first blood in pursuit of their first domestic crown in 30 years. Guardiola’s side will be equally determined to maintain the edge after beating the Reds 2-1 in their previous encounter in January as they bid for a domestic league hat-trick.

Liverpool v Tottenham, 26 October

Liverpool were crowned European champions for a sixth time after beating Tottenham in Madrid 12 days ago and the north London side will want revenge. The pair are sure to challenge for a top-four finish in the 2019-20 campaign and this Anfield clash will be an indicator of their title credentials. The Reds won both league matches 2-1 last season and have 10 wins and only one defeat in their last 15 meetings in all competitions.

Arsenal v Chelsea, 28 December

Chelsea secured a comprehensive 4-1 victory against Arsenal in this summer’s other all-English European final to lift the Europa League trophy for a second time. If the Gunners can avenge their painful defeat in Baku in their first meeting since, it might go a little way to appeasing those fans who are growing ever louder in their criticism of the club’s inability to compete with the top four. Champions League qualification is a minimum requirement for both clubs, who each won their respective home game in this fixture last season.

Sheffield United v Manchester United, 23 November

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder joined an exclusive group of managers to have won promotion to each of the top four divisions in England when his side pipped Leeds to a second-placed finish in the Sky Bet Championship. Without a Yorkshire derby next season – the Blades’ first in the top flight since 2006-07 – their fans will relish the visit of Manchester United, who were their opponents at Bramall Lane in both clubs’ first Premier League fixture on the opening day of the 1992-93 season.

Aston Villa v Bournemouth, 17 August

Villa Park is expected to be sold out for the club’s first home game back in the top flight, although some fans may have preferred more illustrious opponents to mark the occasion. Dean Smith’s side sat 13th in the Championship at the start of March, but stormed to promotion via their play-off final win against Derby after ending the regular season with 11 wins in their last 12 matches including 10 in a row. Villa spent three seasons in the second tier after finishing rock-bottom of the Premier League, with just 17 points, at the end of 2015-16, but lifelong fan Smith guided them back after just over seven months in charge. PA

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.

Premier League (@premierleague)

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