Manchester City and Liverpool took the Premier League title race down to the final day of last season and assuming nothing catastrophic happens for either club, they are expected to fight it out again this season. Here is a look at where the key battlegrounds will be, and groups of fixtures to look out for as potential areas to gain ground for both clubs.
The latest Oddschecker odds show Manchester City as the 5/7 favourites to retain their title, while Liverpool are priced up at 11/4. The rest are all double figures, and if the bookmakers have this right then we are going to see another battle between City and Liverpool, with the rest trailing behind them.
August & September
Both teams have the chance to make a perfect start in August, and they will actually go into the season on the back of a game against each other in the Community Shield. City travel to West Ham on the opening weekend, with games against Tottenham, Bournemouth and Brighton to round things off while Liverpool start at home to newly promoted Norwich, and their following games include Southampton, Arsenal and Burnley. Both have an early game against top six opposition, but at home they will fancy their chances.
September is a short month with just three games, and it is here where City may take an early advantage. They face Norwich, Watford and Everton while Liverpool will fancy their chances against Newcastle and Sheffield United, although the game in between, a trip to Chelsea, could be their first sticking point.
October & November
October is another month where City could build their advantage, with three winnable games. They face Wolves, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa while Liverpool play Leicester, followed by a trip to Manchester United and a home game against Tottenham. By the time we get to the end of October and everything has settled down, it would be no surprise to see City hold the advantage.
That could all change in November, which is the month of their first meeting and a game at Anfield. Alongside this, City also have to face Chelsea at home, as well as games against Southampton and Newcastle. Liverpool face trips to Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and play Brighton at home in what looks to be an easier month for them.
With six games across the month and a busy Christmas period, this is always an important month in the title race. Liverpool begin things with a game against their rivals Everton, and after that they will be pleased with what they have to face, with games against Bournemouth, Watford, West Ham, Leicester and Wolves.
This is another month where it looks as though City have things slightly tougher than Liverpool, and they also have a derby to contend with, when they host Manchester United. Prior to that is a trip to Burnley, while the game after is another tough one, an away trip to Arsenal. They then face Leicester, a difficult trip to Wolves on Boxing Day and finish up against Sheffield United.
January & February
Four winnable games await Manchester City in January, with home games against Everton and Crystal Palace as well as away trips to Aston Villa and Sheffield United. The same cannot be said for Liverpool though, they have two tough away games at Tottenham, who they beat in the Champions League final and Wolves, as well as a big home game against Manchester United and one against Sheffield United. This looks as though it could be a big month in the title race, and a key one for Liverpool.
February is much easier for them, they face both Southampton and West Ham at home, while they will travel away to Norwich and Watford. City are the ones having it slightly tougher this month, with two away trips to Tottenham and Leicester alongside a home game against Arsenal and one against West Ham.
March & April
Do you want to know the biggest month of the season for Manchester City? The answer is March. They only play three games this month, but two of those are away to Manchester United and Chelsea, two huge games. In the middle is a home game against Burnley, but it is those away trips that make this a tasty month. Liverpool travel away to Everton in what is sure to be a tough game for them, but back at home things are much easier with games against Bournemouth and Crystal Palace.
The beginning of April sees the second and final meeting between the two top clubs, and that will surely be another important game. It is important to note here that in the space of four games across March and April, City will face Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool, that is not an easy run, especially if they are still in the Champions League at that point.
As for the rest of April, City travel down south to Southampton and Brighton, with a home game against Newcastle in between. Liverpool play Aston Villa and Burnley at home, while also travelling south to play Brighton.
Who’s got the toughest end to the season? Certainly Liverpool. They round their campaign off with Arsenal away, Chelsea at home and Newcastle away. If they need points, that is certainly not going to be easy. The final games are better for Manchester City, as they host Bournemouth and Norwich and travel away to Watford.
They are the months to look out for, and just like last season, it appears as though the momentum will swing both ways throughout the campaign in what is sure to be another tight title race.