18 June 2014
On Liverpool's 2014-15 Fixtures
See the full fixture list here. The Premier League threatens to sue me if I actually publish the whole list on my blog.
On first glance, August and February are the cruellest months.
Unlike in 2013-14, Liverpool don't have the luxury of an "easy" start: they host Southampton, a team that's given them fits in the past, swiftly followed by trips to City and Tottenham. There will be no building up confidence with narrow wins over Stoke, Villa, and Moyes. There will be baptism by fire and blood.
At least the midweek Champions League matches don't come before difficult league fixtures until November. The first three CL ties are followed by matches against West Ham (A), West Brom (H), and Hull (H), two of three at home. But then, Liverpool host Chelsea after a midweek European match, then host Stoke, and then travel to United, who won't have midweek European fixtures next season.
So yeah, November's fairly cruel as well.
Unlike last season, the festive season fixtures aren't as dismal: trips to City and Chelsea, followed by Hull at home replaced by Burnley away, Swansea at home, and Leicester at home. Thank heavens for small favors.
But then comes February: Everton and Southampton away, Tottenham and City at home. And if Liverpool progress from the Champions League group stage, they'll have the first leg of the Round of 16 either before Southampton away or Manchester City at home, with the second leg before either Swansea away or Manchester United at home. Gulp.
Like 2013-14, the run-in isn't especially difficult after traveling to Arsenal on April 4, with just one of seven matches against a Top 8 side, but once again, that match is against Chelsea in early May, this time a visit to Stamford Bridge rather than at Anfield.
Liverpool took nine points from the first three matches last season, a reasonably big factor in what was ultimately the beginning of an unlikely title challenge, as much for the confidence boost as the points on the board. If Liverpool can do similar again this season, it'll put them in even better stead to start the campaign.