Premier League Darts visits the city of the Premier League champions in waiting as Liverpool hosts Night Six of the elite invitational on Thursday.
The 2020 Unibet Premier League is already shaping up to be one of the most compelling stagings of recent times, with just two points separating the top seven players in the table.
The tournament has already witnessed a nine-darter and an historic first Challenger win over a Premier League regular within the last two weeks, and more darting drama is guaranteed on Merseyside.
The stand-out match of the night features a repeat of last Sunday’s UK Open final as Michael van Gerwen and Gerwyn Price renew their box office rivalry.
Arguably the two hottest properties on planet darts at present, Van Gerwen and Price played out a thrilling final in Minehead at the weekend and now face off for the 24th time in PDC competition.
Van Gerwen had gone more than 100 days without winning a PDC tournament but opened his account for the new season superbly by coming from 5-1 down to defeat the Welshman 11-9 in the final.
The world number one, who landed a nine-darter in his Semi-Final success over Daryl Gurney, has not had things all his own way in the Premier League so far, losing two of his opening five matches.
Van Gerwen enters the night in third position, a point adrift of the top two, and will be keen to repeat the dose on Price and make it four consecutive Premier League wins over The Ice Man and 21 from their 24 in total.
Price was left to rue what could have been at the UK Open and will be determined to iron out the crucial missed doubles which ultimately cost him the title.
The back-to-back Grand Slam champion drew his opening three Premier League games before getting off the mark in Dublin, but was far below his best in a 7-3 defeat to Glen Durrant which saw him slip to fifth.
Durrant has proved the surprise package of the tournament so far and leads the way with seven points ahead of Michael Smith on legs difference.
The three-time BDO World Champion has settled superbly into his debut Premier League campaign and now faces a crunch clash with a struggling Daryl Gurney.
Gurney defeated Durrant 7-3 in Glasgow last year when ‘Duzza’ was a Contender, but the Teessider has become accustomed to the big stage environment since and has proved one of the toughest opponents to break down.
Gurney picked up a point in Exeter last week but is in desperate need to register his first win to avoid becoming cut adrift with only a further three nights remaining before the cut off for elimination.
The Northern Irishman will be hoping to use his run to the UK Open Semi-Finals as a springboard to kick-starting his Premier League campaign by denying Duzza.
The final match of the evening sees two former UK Open champions collide as 2018 winner Gary Anderson faces 2019 champion Nathan Aspinall.
Anderson became the first Premier League player to lose to a Challenger when we went down 7-5 to Luke Humphries in a nervy affair in Exeter last week.
He since slipped to eighth in the PDC Order of Merit after failing to defend his UK Open title winning prize money from two years ago, but will be focused on getting back to winning ways in an event he has won twice.
Anderson is one of three players locked on five points but knows a win would take him into the top four and ease any elimination fears.
Aspinall has taken six points from a possible ten so far and was below-par in a 7-3 defeat to Peter Wright last week before suffering the misfortune of drawing an inspired MVG in Round Four of the UK Open.
The Stockport ace defeated Anderson by four sets to two in an epic Last 16 clash in the recent World Championship – their first and only televised encounter to date.
The opening match of the night sees joint leader Smith take on reigning World Champion Wright for the third time this season.
The pair met in the final of The Masters in January as Wright took advantage of missed doubles from ‘Bully Boy’ to snatch the title with an 11-10 victory, before Smith claimed a 7-5 triumph in the Semi-Finals of the Belgian Championship.
Smith tops the Premier League form guide with three consecutive wins and a show-piece nine-darter in Dublin, while Wright sits in seventh spot but just one point adrift of the top four.
Stephen Bunting returns to the Premier League for a cameo role as a Challenger as he aims to delight the Merseyside faithful with a scalp of Rob Cross.
Bunting featured in the 2015 Premier League just a year after becoming BDO World Champion, finishing eighth in the table.
Since then, he has struggled to replicate the instant impact he made when making the switch from the BDO, but is now moving back in the right direction after battling demons both on and off the oche.
Bunting reached three televised Quarter-Finals last season and is back on the brink of the top 16, and ‘The Bullet’ will be hoping to fire on all cylinders when he makes the short trip from St Helens.
Cross boasts a 100 per cent record against his stablemate, having won all four of their previous meetings, including 16-14 epic in the 2019 World Matchplay and a 10-8 success in the weekend’s UK Open.
Last year’s beaten finalist sits second from bottom and could enter the match looking over his shoulder depending on how Gurney fares earlier in the evening.
The action gets underway from 7pm GMT, with all matches to be contested over the best of 12 legs.
Night Six – Thursday March 12
7.15pm Michael Smith v Peter Wright
8.00pm Daryl Gurney v Glen Durrant
8.45pm Gerwyn Price v Michael van Gerwen
9.30pm Rob Cross v Stephen Bunting
10.15pm Gary Anderson v Nathan Aspinall