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 By Dave Usher

Premier League fixtures: Klopp and Liverpool handed kind start

Liverpool legend Steve Nicol weighs in on Liverpool's notable fixtures following the release of the 2017-18 season schedule.

After a wretched looking opening to last season, the fixture list has been somewhat kinder to Liverpool this year.

Not that this means much of course, as Jurgen Klopp's team tend to make the difficult look easy and the easy look difficult, typified by when they started last season with a win at Arsenal but then lost at Burnley a week later.

They play Arsenal and Burnley early on this time too, in their third and fifth fixtures respectively, with a trip to Manchester City sandwiched in between. It could have been worse though and opening up with games against Watford and Crystal Palace provides an opportunity for the Merseysiders to get off to a fast start.

The run in does not look too taxing either, with trips to Everton and Chelsea the only time the Reds will face any of last year's top seven in their final eight games of the season.

Manchester City

(A) Sep. 9, 2017

(H) Jan. 13, 2018

Liverpool against Manchester City is almost always a terrific game. The Reds have a good record against City, despite the fact the Mancunians usually finish above them in the table. Last season Klopp's men won a close one at Anfield on New Year's Eve and should also have won at the Etihad in March, only for Adam Lallana to fluff his lines and miss an open goal. That game ended 1-1 but was one of the most entertaining games of the season.

Klopp vs. Guardiola will happen much earlier this time, as Liverpool visit the Etihad in their fourth fixture. The game comes off the back of an international break, so both managers will be hoping their stars return injury free after representing their countries.

Manchester United 

(H) Oct 14, 2017

(A) - Mar 10, 2018

Along with the Merseyside derby, this is the fixture that means the most to Liverpool supporters. There is no love lost between the two great rivals, and that hostility has been cranked up even more by Jose Mourinho's presence. Liverpool had the better of both games against United last season but were left frustrated at only having two draws to show for it.

Mourinho's expected tactical approach means the game at Anfield in October is unlikely to be a classic, but it will certainly be fiercely contested.

Tottenham Hotspur

(A) - Oct 21, 2017

(H) - Feb 3, 2018

More often than not, the North Londoners have finished above Liverpool in the table over the last half a dozen years, but these are two very evenly matched teams and when they meet it's usually a high quality game. Liverpool beat Spurs comfortably at Anfield last season and drew at White Hart Lane, although they were somewhat hard done by that day and had a terrific Sadio Mane goal incorrectly ruled out for offside.

Expect another two cracking games between two of the youngest and most vibrant attacking teams in the league.

Liverpool are back in the Champions League and must balance that with their Premier League campaign.

Everton

(H) - Dec 9, 2017

(A) - Apr 7, 2018

Everton's record against Liverpool over the last 20 years is dreadful -- they have not tasted victory at Anfield since 1999. They will attempt to break that hoodoo in December, which will bring back unhappy memories from a year earlier when they were beaten at Goodison Park by a last gasp winner by Mane. Liverpool supporters immediately penned a song about that, entitled "Merry Christmas, Everton". Expect to hear that echoing around Anfield during the game on Dec. 9.

Southampton

(H) Nov 18, 2017

(A) - Feb 10, 2018

Liverpool played Southampton four times last season and failed to register a single goal. There's some needle there between the clubs due to Liverpool's annual summer swoop to sign the Saints' best players and that ill feeling has been cranked up several notches this summer after Liverpool's botched attempt to sign Virgil van Dijk. The question now is whether Van Dijk will be playing in this fixture next season, and if so, which team will he be turning out for?

Dave Usher is one of ESPN's Liverpool bloggers and the founder of LFC fanzine and website The Liverpool Way. Follow him on Twitter: @theliverpoolway.

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