(Reuters) - Women's Super League (WSL) champions Chelsea will begin their title defence with a trip to Manchester United on the weekend of Sept. 5-6, as the league released its fixture list for the first two weeks of the new season on Friday.
Newly promoted Aston Villa face a trial by fire in their opening game when they host Manchester City, who narrowly missed out on last season's title.
Arsenal, who finished third last season and are still in the Women's Champions League, will kick off their campaign at home to Reading while Tottenham Hotspur will host West Ham United.
The full fixture list will be released in early September and the season will start behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The second-tier Championship begins on the same weekend as the Super League, with Liverpool, who were relegated from last season's WSL, set to face Durham in their opener before a trip to London Bees the following weekend.
"It's a tough start to the season, which is exactly what we thought it would be," Liverpool women's manager Vicky Jepson said.
"But we just can't wait to get started on our task for this season. It's nice to have the first game at Prenton Park."
Since there are 11 clubs in the Women's Championship, Lewes will not be playing on the opening weekend.
The 2019-20 season was abandoned due to the pandemic, with Emma Hayes' Chelsea awarded the Super League title and Aston Villa declared the winners of the Championship on a points-per-game basis.
(Reporting by Arvind Sriram and Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)