Liverpool handed tough schedule

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Rafael Benitez looks set to once again be thumbing through his diary after the announcement of the fixtures for the 2009/10 Barclays Premier League campaign landed Liverpool with some tough scheduling after European games.

The Reds boss was embroiled in a row with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson last season, during which he claimed Liverpool were "handicapped" by the timings of matches - even quipping his rival should perhaps "organise the fixtures and everything in his office and send them to us".

The debate for the campaign ahead is likely to once again centre on which of the 'Big Four' teams play at home and which have to travel following potentially testing midweek European ties.

Arsenal, who finished fourth, have already had their Premier League match against Bolton on August 18 postponed because of the need to go through a two-legged qualifier.

It is, though, Liverpool who could perhaps feel somewhat aggrieved at the way some of their domestic games have been allocated.

After the opening games of the new Champions League season on September 15/16, the Reds are set to travel to West Ham, while all of their rivals will be at home - United involved in the Manchester derby which could well be switched to a Sunday kick-off giving the league champions more recovery time.

On Matchday Two, Liverpool head to title rivals Chelsea, while again United and Arsenal are also at home.

Benitez and Ferguson will go head to head at Anfield on October 24, which follows the third of the opening Champions League group games.

Chelsea are at home, while the Gunners, should they qualify, would face only a short trip across London to West Ham.

Not until after Matchday Four do the Reds appear to get a break, when they host promoted Birmingham, while United travel to Stamford Bridge that weekend and Arsenal are at Wolves.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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