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Battle of the champions

'Pool kick-off defence against Leeds


Marcelo Bielsa’s first game in the Premier League will be against the champions

Marcelo Bielsa’s first game in the Premier League will be against the champions

Marcelo Bielsa’s first game in the Premier League will be against the champions

Liverpool will host Leeds United in a battle of the Premier League and Championship champions on the opening day of the top-flight season.

Jurgen Klopp's men will begin the defence of their first English title for 30 years against a side who last month ended their 16-year exile from the world's richest league.

Arsenal also face a promoted team with a London derby at play-off winners Fulham on the weekend of September 12, while fellow newcomers West Bromwich Albion welcome Leicester City.

Manchester United and Manchester City will kick off their own campaigns the following weekend at home to Crystal Palace and away at Wolverhampton Wanderers, respectively, as a result of their European exploits.

So will Burnley and Aston Villa, who have been paired with the Manchester clubs on the opening weekend in two postponed fixtures. Burnley will travel to Leicester on the weekend of September 19, while Villa will host Sheffield United.

Chelsea and Wolves will begin their seasons on Monday, September 14 after being given more time to recover from their European campaigns.

Liverpool, meanwhile, are not expected to be affected by new UK coronavirus quarantining rules which come into force on Saturday.

The reigning Premier League champions are currently in Austria taking part in a pre-season training camp.


Austria, along with Croatia and Trinidad and Tobago, will be added to the list of countries from where people entering the UK will have to quarantine for 14 days from 4.0am on Saturday.

But it is understood that, because Liverpool are also playing matches in Austria, they will be exempt from quarantine if they apply through the Football Association - something which it is believed they are currently in the process of doing.

Had the trip been purely for training purposes, the potential to have to then quarantine would have been much higher.

Although it is unclear when Jurgen Klopp's side will return, it will be after Tuesday when they face RB Salzburg. They also face Stuttgart tomorrow.

No restrictions on their return would mean that Liverpool will be clear to return to Melwood as normal to prepare for the Community Shield clash against Arsenal on Sunday week.

Reports earlier in the week suggested a member of Liverpool's travelling party to Austria had tested positive for coronavirus.

Protocols were put in place before travel and have been adhered to since arrival, with tests being conducted before and during the Austrian training camp - where Liverpool headed having shelved their initial plans to travel to Evian after France was added to the UK quarantine list.