The fixtures for the 2022/23 season have been released, with Erik ten Hag facing Brighton in his first competitive Manchester United match.

Here is a look at five takeaways from the fixture release…

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Ten Hag faces huge early Liverpool test

Ten Hag’s first game of any description in charge of United is against Liverpool in a pre-season friendly in Thailand.

Given the excitement around his appointment, there might have been a temptation to hype that game up too much, or put too much emphasis on it.

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There is no need now. United host Liverpool in their third game of the season and we will get a great idea of where the revolution is at then.

United lost by a 9-0 aggregate scoreline against their bitterest rivals last season, with both defeats coming without a plan or a fight.

Ten Hag needs to show evidence of both in what will be a huge early test.

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United fairly fortunate after Europa League games

United are back on the Thursday-Sunday grind in the Europa League and the mid-season break for the World Cup has condensed the group stage.

We now know who United will be facing directly after their six group matches.

Those games are Crystal Palace (A), Leeds United (H), Everton (A), Newcastle (H), West Ham (H) and Aston Villa (A).

Not easy games by any stretch, but also United will not be coming off a potentially gruelling Thursday night trip and into a clash with a top six rival.

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Fixtures around World Cup break look kind

Speaking of the World Cup, United have a match against a newly-promoted side either side of the tournament in Qatar.

Just before the tournament, some players may have one eye on it, and not want to get injured with such a short turnaround time.

And the last thing United would want is their players coming back having gone deep into the competition and into a bumper clash.

But United face Fulham away before the World Cup and Nottingham Forest at home directly afterwards, which could have turned out a lot worse.

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United set for crunch April

April is when the business end of the season starts, and United will hope to have something to play for by then, after last season was all but done at that stage.

The Europa League semi-final second leg is on 20 April, with the FA Cup semi-final the following weekend.

If United do not make the domestic cup semi at Wembley, they will face Chelsea, before facing Tottenham the following midweek.

If United are to get back into the top four next term under ten Hag, those two clubs look the most likely to drop out, which means it could be a huge few days if United make cup progression too.

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Promoted sides in the run-in

As we saw last season, the race for Champions League qualification could go down to the very last day of the season.

In their final two games, United have two promoted sides, Bournemouth away, and then Fulham at home.

On paper, they should be six points, although of course they could be fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table by that point, with conventional wisdom sometimes saying that it is better to face mid-table sides at that stage of the campaign.

The key for United is to put themselves in a position where they have something to play for at crunch time, and then worry about who they are playing after that.

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Early predictions after seeing 2022/23 fixtures for Manchester United

Three of United’s first five games are away, and the last win on the road in the league under Rangnick came in February at Leeds.

That means the Dutchman needs to make early improvements in that area, especially with Liverpool to come so soon after taking over.

Last season, there were two obvious runs of fixtures which looked like they would make or break United’s season.

The first run brought Solskjaer’s reign to an end, and the second finished off any hopes of top four under Rangnick.

There is not such an obvious gauntlet this time around, and as noted above, there are some periods of the season which could have turned out harder.

We’ll back United for three wins from the first five, with the Liverpool game tough to call until we have seen the extent of the improvement under ten Hag.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.