Premier League 2019/20 fixtures: Liverpool play opener v Norwich, Man United and Chelsea clash

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Manchester City

Liverpool will kick off the 2019/20 Premier League season with a Friday match at Anfield against newly-promoted Norwich City as the fixtures were released on Thursday.

Champions Manchester City on the other hand will begin their title defence away to West Ham on August 10.

The early run of games for Pep Guardiola’s side also features encounters with Tottenham, Bournemouth and Brighton in August.

Liverpool will hope to go one better this time around after finishing a close second last season and their latest title charge will also see them take on Southampton, Arsenal and Burnley in the opening rounds.

Their fans’ eyes however will immediately be drawn to December 4 for the Merseyside derby with Everton and October 19 when they face Manchester United.

Ole Gunnar Solkjaer’s first full season in charge kicks off with a tough clash at home to Chelsea on August 11 and he’ll hope incoming transfers over the summer will help his side be more competitive in the Manchester derby on December 7 than they have been in recent times.

Whether or not Maurizio Sarri will remain at Chelsea’s helm next season is unclear with a move to Juventus being speculated but if he remains with the Blues, a trip to Old Trafford first up will be challenging.

Mauricio Pochettino’s future is also up in the air at the moment but should he stay with Tottenham, he’ll lead his team out for their season opener against Aston Villa at home.

Meanwhile, Arsenal will be desperate to force their way back into the top four and their pursuit of Champions League football begins with an away game against Newcastle United.

The north London derby between Arsenal and Spurs is scheduled for August 31.

Check out the complete list of fixtures here.

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Man City boss Pep Guardiola reacts to report he could quit Premier League champions

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Pep Guardiola has dismissed suggestions he is considering taking a break from football.

Reports have claimed the Manchester City manager could take a sabbatical if he guides his side to Champions League victory next year.

Guardiola has had an extended break before, enjoying a year off after leaving Barcelona before taking over at Bayern Munich in 2013.

Yet with two years remaining on his contract at Etihad Stadium, the 48-year-old insists such thoughts are not in his mind.

Speaking to media at a golf event in Spain, Guardiola said, in quotes carried by Marca: “No. I do not take sabbatical years. I am young and I have desire.

“The news comes out and many things are not true. If they do not kick me out, I’ll stay there.”

Guardiola also emphatically denied speculation linking him with Juventus last month.

City won an unprecedented treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup last season.

Their next challenge is to win the Champions League after defeats in the quarter-finals in the past two years.

Guardiola said: “We all want to win the Champions League because it is the most beautiful thing. The important thing is to try again and in our case we will do it again.

“If we fail, we will try again, as the important thing is to be there until the end.”

Following Real Madrid’s signing of Eden Hazard in a deal that could potentially cost £130 million, Guardiola also made an ironic comment about the perception City are viewed as the game’s big spenders.

“Real Madrid are signing good players, but only Manchester City spend money here,” he said.

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Pep Guardiola considers Man City sabbatical and Man United target Andre Onana

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What the papers say

If he can lift the Champions League trophy next season, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is considering a sabbatical, the Daily Star reports. The Spaniard has signed a contract which will keep him at the Etihad until 2021, but the paper quotes an unnamed source saying the stresses of the job mean it is “inevitable he will have to take a step back”. City will reportedly target Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino if Guardiola goes.

Talks have reportedly begun between Chelsea and Derby manager Frank Lampard. The Daily Mail says Lampard may return to Stamford Bridge after just one year with the Rams, with Blues boss Maurizio Sarri apparently preparing to leave Chelsea for Juventus this week.

Manchester United have reportedly found a replacement for goalkeeper David De Gea, if the Spaniard leaves the club summer. The Independent says the Red Devils are looking at Ajax’s Andre Onana as their first choice, although Barcelona’s Jasper Cillesen has also been linked with a move to Old Trafford.

Arsenal have made contact over Roma star Lorenzo Pellegrini and could pay his £27million transfer fee in instalments, according to reports. The Daily Mirror says reports in Italy suggest Pellegrini’s agent has already fielded a call from the Gunners.

England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to extend his current deal at Liverpool until 2023, the Daily Mail says. His current deal will run out in three years, but he will agree to an additional one-year extension, the paper claims.

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Players to watch

Louie Barry: Barcelona are hoping to secure the services of the 15-year-old England Under-16 striker from West Brom, the Birmingham Mail reports.

Paul Pogba: Manchester United’s France striker is being closely courted by Real Madrid, according to Marca. The Spanish newspaper’s website says Real will do all they can to take Pogba from Old Trafford this summer.

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