How will the Premier League's bizarre fixture rescheduling affect Liverpool's title race?

With 10 match days left to go following this international break, the title race is hotting up, with just goal difference separating leaders Arsenal and Liverpool, and Manchester City a single point behind. The fixture list for each side, therefore, is going to be crucial for the run-in.

This is why the Premier League is coming under fire for the way in which it has handled the scheduling of the remaining fixtures, with all three title contenders playing nine games between now and the end of April.

No team has it easy. But each face a unique set of circumstances that they'll have to navigate if they are to lift the coveted trophy in May.

So, what do these latest changes mean for the title race?

Klopp's 'favourite' gripe

The updated fixture calendar does not look kind to Liverpool.

April is shaping up to be majorly challenging, with the Reds set to conclude the month with four consecutive away games in just 10 days, spanning from 18 to 27 April.

Should they progress to the Europa League semi-finals by beating Atalanta, this stretch will extend to five successive away matches within 15 days, culminating on 2 May.

The key to this challenging run has been the Premier League's decision to reschedule the high-stakes Merseyside derby against Everton at Goodison Park for Wednesday 24 April.

This game had to be rearranged to accommodate the Reds' FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester United (which they lost 4-3). Now, the new fixture date comes just three days before another demanding away day – a Saturday lunchtime showdown against West Ham United on 27 April.

Jurgen Klopp has repeatedly voiced his frustration about early Saturday kick-offs following a midweek commitment. Undoubtedly, the quick turnaround here will present a logistical nightmare for Klopp and his squad.

While, in isolation, Liverpool's opponents aren't the strongest when compared to the other two - and the Reds have the longest breaks between fixtures out of the three (an average of 3.3 days, compared to 3.1 for Arsenal and Manchester City) - the run of away games, and the travel that goes with it, is what will test their physical and mental resilience to the limit.

240318 -- MANCHESTER, March 18, 2024 -- Liverpool s head coach Jurgen Klopp reacts during the FA Cup quarterfinal match between Manchester United, ManU and Liverpool in Manchester, Britain, on March 17, 2024. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR LIVE SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS. SPBRITAIN-MANCHESTER-FOOTBALL-FA CUP-MANCHESTER UNITED VS LIVERPOOL FC LixYing PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxCHN

Liverpool's remaining fixtures:

  • Brighton (H) – 31 March - Premier League
  • Sheffield United (H) – 4 April - Premier League
  • Manchester United (A) – 7 April - Premier League
  • Atalanta (H) - 11 April - Europa League
  • Crystal Palace (H) – 14 April - Premier League
  • Atalanta (A) - 18 April - Europa League
  • Fulham (A) – 21 April - Premier League
  • Everton (A) – 24 April - Premier League
  • West Ham (A) – 27 April - Premier League
  • **Benfica / Marseille (A) - 2 May - Europa League
  • Tottenham Hotspur (H) – 4 May - Premier League
  • **Benfica / Marseille (H) - 9 May - Europa League
  • Aston Villa (A) – 11 May - Premier League
  • Wolves (H) – 19 May - Premier League
  • **Final (N) - 22 May - Europa League

Gunners backlog

For leaders Arsenal, the picture isn't much better. It would appear that Mikel Arteta's side will face the most difficult opponents next month.

First, they must travel to Manchester City on 31 March for a game that could have enormous ramifications for the title race.

This game is then followed by quick-fire meetings with Luton and Brighton ahead of their massive Champions League quarter-final double-header against Bayern Munich.

Meanwhile, their rescheduled showdown with London rivals Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium has been pencilled in for Tuesday 23 April. The match now comes just five days before the Gunners make the short trip to Tottenham for the latest North London derby on 28 April and three days after they travel to Wolves.

However, the Gunners' April is further complicated by their Champions League commitments, which have a tough clash with Aston Villa sandwiched in between.

If they're to progress in the tournament, that would mean their derby with Spurs, due to kick-off at 2pm on Sunday 28 April would be moved to 12.30pm a day earlier.

Arsenal's remaining fixtures:

  • Manchester City (A) - 31 March - Premier League
  • Luton Town (H) - 3 April - Premier League
  • Brighton & Hove Albion (A) - 6 April - Premier League
  • Bayern Munich (H) - 9 April - Champions League
  • Aston Villa (H) - 14 April - Premier League
  • Bayern Munich (A) - 17 April - Champions League
  • Wolves (A) - 20 April - Premier League
  • Chelsea (H) - 23 April - Premier League
  • Tottenham Hotspur (A) - 28 April - Premier League
  • **Semi-final - 30 April/1 May - Champions League
  • Bournemouth (H) - 4 May - Premier League
  • **Semi-final - 7/8 May - Champions League
  • Manchester United (A) - 11 May - Premier League
  • Everton (H) - 19 May - Premier League
  • **Final - 1 June - Champions League

Manchester City v Arsenal Premier League 26/04/2023. Manchester City Pep Guardiola greets Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta before the Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England on 26 April 2023. Editorial use only DataCo restrictions apply See www.football-dataco.com , Copyright: xIanxStephenx PSI-17328-0147

Advantage, Manchester City?

Manchester City, meanwhile will face Arsenal, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Real Madrid in the space of just 10 days following their return from international duty.

With April's schedule released, City's trips to Brighton and Nottingham Forest are now up in the air, dependent on their progress in the Champions League. At best, they will only find out when these games are played a week before their trip to the South Coast.

Given that, out of the three sides, City are the only ones still in the FA Cup, they will play one fewer Premier League game in April, potentially leaving them with a game in hand as the title race goes into the final weeks.

That rearranged fixture against Spurs could be vital and give them an advantage right at the death (if they win it, of course).

Manchester City's remaining fixtures:

  • Arsenal (H) - 31 March - Premier League
  • Aston Villa (H) - 3 April - Premier League
  • Crystal Palace (A) - 6 April - Premier League
  • Real Madrid (A) - 9 April - Champions League
  • Luton (H) - 13 April - Premier League
  • Real Madrid (H) - 17 April - Champions League
  • Chelsea (N) - 20 April - FA Cup
  • Brighton (A) - 25 April - Premier League
  • Nottingham Forest (A) - 28 April - Premier League
  • **Semi-final - 30 April/1 May - Champions League
  • Wolves (H) - 4 May - Premier League
  • **Semi-final - 7/8 May - Champions League
  • Fulham (A) - 11 May - Premier League
  • Tottenham Hotspur (A) - TBC - Premier League
  • West Ham (H) - 19 May - Premier League
  • **Final - 25 May - FA Cup
  • **Final - 1 June - Champions League

Authorities under scrutiny

In the light of this rather chaotic fixture reshuffle, the Premier League authorities are facing mounting criticism over their handling of the rescheduling.

According to reports in The Mirror, some clubs have been left "questioning of integrity" of the decision-making process.

With key games like Tottenham-Manchester City left unresolved, the lack of clarity raises doubts about the league's commitment to maintaining a level playing field for all clubs.

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