For several seasons under Rafael Benitez, Liverpool's Premier League challenge seemed to be over before it started. They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but you can definitely judge a Liverpool season by its start. Last year under Roy Hodgson they picked up just five points from their first five games, part of their worst start to the season since 1953-54 (when they were relegated), and the club went on to record their joint lowest points total since 1998-99. They matched the 58 points that they scored in 2004-05, but without the excuse of a cup run or the considerable consolation of a Champions League trophy.
In order to have a realistic chance at a Champions League place, let alone a title challenge during the 2011-12 season, Kenny Dalglish's side will have to hit the ground running and be firmly in contention after the first month. In the last season where Liverpool seriously challenged (2008-09), they began the season by going 10 games unbeaten. In contrast, last season it wasn't until their 10th game that they won two games in a row.
Liverpool's first five fixtures are kinder this time around, but they will still represent a challenge, so here's a look at how the Reds will start their campaign.