Like last year, a quick knock-up of Liverpool's schedule, looking at the fixture list by last season's league place rather than the team name.
• I'm sure you remember that Liverpool played three teams in the previous season's top four in the first five matches to begin Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool tenure. It went, um, poorly. This season, the only match against a side that finished ahead of Liverpool until November 2nd is a home match against Manchester United, who'll ideally still be struggling to come to terms with its new manager. In Liverpool's first 10 matches, they'll play just four sides who finished in the top 10 last season. Given the rumored changes to Liverpool's preferred XI, both in defense and attack (as well as Suarez's suspension if he stays), Rodgers will have the time to make adjustments before playing the league's toughest opponents, something the vagaries of last season's schedule wholly denied him.
• December looks beastly, having to travel to both Manchester City and Chelsea during the festive season, as well as to Tottenham on December 14th. But December's always beastly, no matter the opposition. Those are the quirks of the jam-packed fixture list over those few weeks. Anyone can beat anyone. Last season, Liverpool managed to lose to both Stoke and Aston Villa during this span (teams which finished 13th and 15th, in case you forgot). The season before, Liverpool drew with both nearly-relegated Wigan and utterly-relegated Blackburn. But it's not just Liverpool; last season, City lost to Sunderland on Boxing Day, while Chelsea lost to QPR less than a week later. Strange things happen when sides are forced to play match after match after match, and neither Chelsea nor City will fancy these fixtures either.
• The Merseyside derbies take place on November 23 and January 28. The matches before those two derbies? A home match against Fulham and a home match against Aston Villa.
• Like last season, Liverpool have a fairly tepid run-in. Sure, there are matches against both City and Chelsea in April, but both are at Anfield. Otherwise, the other four matches in the final two months see Liverpool face last season's 10th-placed side, 11th-placed side, and the Championship playoff winners before finishing at home against Newcastle. Not only do Liverpool began the campaign at Anfield, but they'll finish it at Anfield as well.
Sure, knowing Liverpool and knowing precedent, we'll probably feel differently after the season's underway. But It's almost as if the fixture computers favored Liverpool this season. I'm sure it's just coincidence that happened as soon as Alex Ferguson retired.