Seventy-seven days after a chaotic yet inconsequential 4-4 draw at relegated Southampton, Liverpool are back in Premier League action this Sunday as their 2023/24 season begins in earnest.
As we’re sure you know by now, Chelsea are our first opponents of the new campaign, with the Reds on the road for the third opening day in succession as redevelopment work continues at Anfield.
August is that innocent time of the year where many football fans allow themselves to dream of potentially great things to come during the subsequent nine months, even if the likelihood is that those fantasies will go unfulfilled.
With just over 72 hours to go until the rollercoaster swings into gear again, we’ve highlighted five notable trends from Liverpool’s previous Premier League openers. Will these offer a clue as to how things will transpire in west London on Sunday?
(Almost) always on the board straight away
The good news for Liverpool fans is that we typically get something on the board at the first time of trying – only once in the last 13 Premier League seasons have the Reds lost their first game, and that’s now 11 years ago, when we tanked 3-0 at West Brom at the start of Brendan Rodgers’ reign.
Since then, our 10 opening day fixtures have yielded eight wins and two draws, so you can usually bank on the Merseysiders to get off to a quick start!
Capital gains – and the odd bit of pain
Sunday’s match will be the seventh time in 32 Premier League campaigns that Liverpool begin with a trip to London, and our record in the capital is generally decent, with two wins, three draws and just the one defeat.
It’s the second year in a row that we begin in west London, having drawn 2-2 at Fulham 12 months ago, with the victories coming against Crystal Palace (1995) and Arsenal (2016). Our only opening day visit to England’s most populous city which yielded nothing was the 2-1 loss at Tottenham in 2009.
Plenty of away day joy
Liverpool had an appalling away record in the league last season, with more defeats (eight) than victories (six), and it’s something they need to put right this time around if they’re to harbour any real chance of returning to the Champions League.
Thankfully, when the Reds start their campaign on the road, they usually pick up something for their troubles. This will be the 20th time that LFC’s first game is away, with the previous 19 resulting in nine wins, seven draws and just three defeats.
Among the famous opening wins away from Merseyside are the 6-1 demolition of Palace in 1995, Steven Gerrard’s decisive late free kick at Villa Park in 2007 and the seven-goal thriller against Arsenal in 2016. Will there be another one to add to that list this weekend?
Put your house on Mo
If you’re a Liverpool fan who indulges in Fantasy Premier League, there’s a strong chance you’ve put Mo Salah as your captain for Matchweek 1.
Remarkably, the Egyptian has scored in all six of his opening top-flight games since coming to Anfield in 2017, netting against Watford, West Ham, Norwich, Leeds (hat-trick), Norwich again and Fulham.
Plus, the unwritten rule of players scoring against their former club could well see Chelsea punished again, with the 31-year-old netting four times against the Blues since last playing for them in 2015 (Transfermarkt).
He’s about as much of a banker as you could get to find the net on Sunday!
Not you again!
We’re taking liberties with the opening day theme on this one, but Liverpool certainly have a habit of facing Chelsea in the early weeks of the campaign.
This will be the fifth time in six seasons that the two sides have met in either August or September, and three of the previous four have been at the Blues’ home ground as well.
There was the 1-1 draw in 2018 lit up by Daniel Sturridge’s late stunner, the 2-1 victory a year later with Trent Alexander-Arnold’s superb free kick, a 2-0 win at an empty Stamford Bridge in 2020 when Sadio Mane punished Kepa’s sloppiness and a 1-1 draw at Anfield in August 2021.
Last season definitely bucked the trend, with the two teams not facing each other until 21 January. It wasn’t exactly worth the wait either, with a goalless draw ensuing on Merseyside.
In fact, the last four meetings of Liverpool and Chelsea have all ended 0-0 (excluding penalties), but having seen the Reds in pre-season, surely that trend will discontinue at the weekend!
Opening day statistics cited from lfcstats.co.uk