How the Premier League fixture list is decided as Liverpool handed yet another easy opener

The Premier League fixture list is partly decided by a computer (Image: Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images)

The new Premier League fixture list for the 2024/25 season has thrown up a familiar quirk in the system with Liverpool’s opening game. The Reds will face Ipswich Town at Portman Road on Saturday 16 August, a glamour tie for the Tractor Boys’ first top-flight match since 2002.

It will also mark the start of Arne Slot’s reign as Liverpool manager, with the Dutchman facing the difficult task of filling Jurgen Klopp’s shoes. Depending on Liverpool’s transfer business, it remains to be seen whether Slot is tasked with challenging for the title or consolidating the club’s place in the Champions League.

Facing a newly-promoted side on the opening weekend does carry potential pitfalls but Liverpool will be heavy favourites to get their season underway with a win. It is a task that the Reds have become accustomed to in recent years, having started five of the last six campaigns against a promoted club.

Aside from last season’s tough first test against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, which ended in a 1-1 draw, Liverpool are used to welcoming teams up from the Championship. This luck of the draw began with a 4-1 home win over Norwich City in 2019, followed by an end-to-end 4-3 win over Marcelo Bielsea’s Leeds the next season.

In 2021, Norwich returned to the top-flight and were handed a 3-0 defeat by Liverpool at Carrow Road. The Reds were held to a 2-2 draw by recent Championship winners Fulham in 2022, though.

The Premier League schedule takes almost 18 months to compile but the specifics are handled by the fixture computer following the play-off final. After receiving dates for international breaks, plus European and domestic cup competitions, fixture compiler Glenn Thompson from IT services company Atos has explained how the process works.

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New Liverpool manager Arne Slot will face Ipswich Town in his first league game (Image: Getty)

“We place each club in a pairing grid, which defines the dates they will be at home,” he said. “For every date in the season, the fixture computer knows which clubs are at home and who are away and then it will mix them up randomly to determine the matches.

Asked if the previous season’s fixture list influences the next set of games, Thompson replied: “If there are issues with a club’s fixtures one year, you try to take that into account the next year. You try to ensure if there is an undesirable set of fixtures, they don’t get it two seasons in a row.”

He added: “If we have got any issues, we might have to go back and start again to produce a different set of fixtures. I’m reviewing the fixtures all the time to ensure other things can be met.”

Liverpool have been handed another newly-promoted team on the opening day of the season (Image: Getty)

The Premier League season will begin on Friday 15 August with Manchester United hosting Fulham at Old Trafford in an 8pm kick-off. The most eye-catching match from the first round of fixtures is arguably Enzo Maresca’s Chelsea hosting reigning champions Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday 17 August in a 4.30pm kick-off.

Arsenal start their season at home to Wolves on Saturday, while Aston Villa will also look to build on their top-four finish when they travel to West Ham United, now managed by Julen Lopetegui. Play-off winners Southampton face a long trip to Newcastle United in their opening game.

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/1912432/Liverpool-fixtures-2024-2025-premier-league