Deep-dive into Liverpool’s past ‘Big Six’ opening weekend clashes

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Liverpool will travel away to Chelsea on the opening weekend of the 2023-24 Premier League season after fixtures were released on Thursday.

However, the Reds have a bit of history when it comes to starting the season against tricky opposition with Liverpool facing a big six club in five of their previous thirty seasons.

In this article we’re going to take a look at all five of those games to see how Liverpool got on against England’s elite clubs and how much of an effect it had on the rest of the season.

2003: Liverpool 1-2 Chelsea

Coincidentally, we start this list off 20-years-ago when Liverpool hosted Chelsea at Anfield to kick off the 2003-04 Premier League season.

The game got off to a slow start for the Reds, with former Manchester United midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron giving Chelsea the lead halfway through the first-half.

Gerard Houllier’s Reds did eventually equalise late on in the game as Michael Owen scored from the penalty spot.

However, Anfield was left in disbelief as subsitute Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s scored a dramatic late winner in the 87th minute to secure the three points for the travelling Blues.

Liverpool went on to finish 4th that season, qualifying for the UEFA Champions League. Chelsea went on to finish 2nd that season, only behind the famous Arsenal invincible side.

2004: Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Liverpool

The following year, Liverpool travelled to another big London club in Tottenham Hotspur to kick off the 2004-05 Premier League season.

After joining the Reds for £14million in the summer transfer window, it was Djibril Cisse to give Liverpool the lead in the first-half on his debut.

Rafael Benitez’s side managaed to hold the lead until the 71st minute when Spurs striker Jermain Defoe secured a point for the home side.

Liverpool went on to finish 5th in the Premier League that season but did famously win the UEFA Champions League title with a historic win over AC Milan in Istanbul.

Tottenham Hotspur finished that league campaign in 9th place, below the likes of Bolton Wanderers and Middlesbrough.

2009: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Liverpool

Five years later, The two sides met once again on the opening weekend but this time it was Tottenham Hotspur who came out on top.

Liverpool striker Robbie Keane missed a hanful of big chances early on in the game, before Spurs defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto gave the home side the lead just before half-time.

Ten minutes into the second half, Steven Gerrard equalised with a penalty after Huerelho Gomes brought down Glen Johnson in the area.

However, Tottenham defender Sebastien Bassong headed home from a Luka Modric cross late on in the game.

The Reds had a hugely disappointing season, finishing 7th in the Premier League, whilst Tottenham Hotspur went on to secure Champions League football with a 4th place finish.

2010: Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal

The Reds’ poor opening game form continued at the start of the 2010-11 Premier League season as they were held to a draw against Arsenal.

In the opening stages of the game, new signing Joe Cole was sent off for a nasty tackle on Laurent Koscielny, but neither side could find any rhythm within the game.

That was until David Ngog drove the ball home to give Liverpool the lead.

The score remained 1-0 up until the very last minute, where a Pepe Reina mistake saw Marouane Chamakh pull out a late equaliser for the Gunners.

Liverpool again went on to miss out on European football, finishing the Premier League season in 6th place.

2016: Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp’s first full season in charge of Liverpool got off to a flying start as they came out winners in a seven goal thriller at the Emirates Stadium.

Theo Walcott gave Arsenal the lead after 30 minutes, before Philippe Coutinho equalised with an inch-perfect free-kick on the stroke of half-time.

On the other side of half-time, Adam Lallana gave Jurgen Klopp’s side a 2-1 lead over the Gunners.

Coutinho then scored his second of the game before Sadio Mane scored an unbelievable solo goal on his debut for the Reds.

Arsenal did give the Reds a late scare as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers brought the score back to 3-4.

Jurgen Klopp led his side to a 4th place finish on the final day of the Premier League season, securing them a place in the UEFA Champions League once again.

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