Premier League fixtures 2021-22: Salah and Sterling out to continue prolific opening-day records
The Premier League fixture release for the 2021-22 has thrown up some intriguing opening-day clashes.
Champions Manchester City head to Tottenham, with the future of Harry Kane and speculation over which club he might be representing by August 14 still up in the air.
Arsenal are at newly promoted Brentford, while there is a familiar feel to Liverpool travelling to Championship winners Norwich City.
Manchester United v Leeds United is very much in the conversation when it comes to what might be the pick of the initial games, while Chelsea's quest to add domestic dominance to European glory begins against Crystal Palace.
Here, with help from Opta, Stats Perform looks at some of the landmark numbers thrown up by the big kick-off and who might be gunning for a piece of history this time around.
Chelsea to soar against the Eagles?
Still without a manager and facing a close season of extensive squad turnover, Palace certainly have a daunting assignment in prospect at Stamford Bridge against Thomas Tuchel's Champions League winners.
Chelsea boast the biggest opening-day win in Premier League history, a 6-0 thrashing of West Brom in August 2010.
That result replaced the previous most emphatic triumph by Liverpool, who won 6-1 away from home back in 1994. Their opponents? Crystal Palace.
Klopp and Salah send out another welcome party
For a third consecutive season, Liverpool will face a promoted team in their first match of the campaign, having thumped Norwich 4-1 at Anfield in 2019-20 before sharing a 4-3 thriller with Leeds last time around.
Mohamed Salah fired a hat-trick against Marcelo Bielsa's men – the ninth opening-day treble in the competition – and was also on target versus the Canaries.
Salah's six goals on the first weekend place him joint third in the Premier League's all-time standings, level with Leicester City's Jamie Vardy. Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney and Alan Shearer (eight) have more matchday one goals than any other player.
Rooney's five assists leave him out in front on 13 goal involvements, ahead of Shearer and Teddy Sheringham (10).
More capital punishment from Sterling?
Alongside Salah, Raheem Sterling is the only other active Premier League star to have an opening-day hat-trick to his name, having claimed the matchball in Manchester City's 5-0 win at West Ham in 2019.
Overall, the England winger has five goals and two assists on matchday one, and Pep Guardiola's side will be looking to continue a habit of making flying starts.
City have won all of their opening day fixtures in Guardiola's previous five seasons in charge. Indeed, they have won each of their past 10 games on the opening weekend, dating back to a 4-0 triumph over newly promoted Swansea City in 2011.
However, the last time they failed to take an initial three points was in a 0-0 draw at Spurs in 2010. Additionally, in three visits to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in all competitions since its 2019 opening, City have suffered three defeats and failed to score a goal.
Gunners must keep cool to avoid Bees sting
History is to repeat itself on a historic day for Brentford. Arsenal's visit will be their first top-flight game for 74 years, since a 1-0 defeat to the Gunners in May 1947.
Thomas Frank might be able to count on ill-discipline afflicting Mikel Arteta's side if Arsenal's previous efforts are anything to go by.
No team in Premier League history has collected as many as the north London club's six opening-day red cards, one more than Charlton Athletic – a fairly remarkable return given the Addicks were relegated in 2007 and are yet to return.