With work on the main stand at Anfield underway, it was always expected that Liverpool would seek to play the first two games of the season on the road. While the Premier League’s schedulers didn’t account for that, giving the Reds a road opener against Arsenal followed by a home date with Burnley, clubs are free to re-arrange home and away dates amongst themselves.
Last week, Liverpool began to do just that, sending a request to Burnley that they play their match on the 20th of August—scheduled to be Liverpool’s home opener—at Turf Moor. In return, the second match between the two clubs, scheduled for March 11th at Turf Moor, would be played at Anfield. Today, news leaked that Burnley had accepted Liverpool’s request to swap home dates.
As a result, Liverpool will play their first three games next season on the road, away to Arsenal, Burnley, and then Tottenham. The Reds won’t play at Anfield until September 10th, following the first international break of the 2016-17 season, when they will face defending league champions Leicester City at Anfield in the fourth game of the season, making a difficult start even harder.
Liverpool already faced a tough start, as in their first five games they were set to play Arsenal, Tottenham, and Chelsea on the road along with Burnley and Leicester at home. Burnley, on the other hand, will have been more than happy to receive Liverpool’s request, as it they now get to play their first two games at home, improving their chances of a strong start to life back in the top flight.
Construction work on the main stand is currently on pace to be completed before the start of the season, meaning that if there are no delays Liverpool could have played their home opener as scheduled. However, the club felt that it was still prudent to seek a swap with Burnley to protect against the possibility of any delays.