As the 2021-22 Premier League season enters its final weeks, plenty remains for the taking – not least the thrilling title race between Liverpool and reigning champions Manchester City.

Both teams are in imperious form and, while City lead the way by a single point heading into the weekend, one slip might be all it takes.

Chelsea seem relatively secure in third place, but behind them the battle for the final Champions League spot is raging on. Just two points separate north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham, who meet in a potentially decisive derby in mid-May. 

Manchester United have played two games more than those two sides and look like they will have to settle for sixth, assuming they can fend off West Ham.

At the bottom, Everton are in real danger of losing their Premier League status for the first time but will hold out hope in their dogfight against Burnley and Leeds United, though Watford and Norwich City appear destined for the drop.

But just how will it all unfold? Well, using the Stats Perform League Prediction Model, we can try and forecast the final standings.

Created by Stats Perform AI using Opta data, the model has analysed the division to assign percentages to potential outcomes for each club.

The model estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) based on teams' attacking and defensive qualities, which considers four years' worth of results, with weighting based on recency and the quality of opposition. The rest of the matches are then simulated 10,000 times to calculate the likelihood of each outcome.

Let's take a look...

PEP PIPS KLOPP TO THE POST... AGAIN

City won the Premier League title by a margin of just one point in the 2018-19 campaign. The gap has been much wider over the past two seasons, with Liverpool triumphing in 2020 and City winning last year.

But just like in 2019, the model suggests Liverpool will fall just short once again, with City predicted to stay on top. It gives Pep Guardiola's team a 66 per cent chance of winning their fourth title in five seasons, with the Reds given a 34 per cent chance.

Neither side are predicted to drop out of the top two – that seems a safe bet. Liverpool have a tough trip to in-form Newcastle United on Saturday, while City face Leeds United.

Newcastle will then have the chance to have another say in the title race when they visit City on May 8, with trips to Wolves and West Ham coming for the leaders before they round off their domestic season against Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa. 

Liverpool, who also face Villa along with Spurs, Southampton and Wolves, will be wanting a favour from their club great on the last day of the season if they are to prove the model wrong.

GUNNERS CLINCH CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PLACE

Chelsea, according to the model, have a 98.7 chance of staying in third place, and are certain to be playing in UEFA's elite competition next season.

Below them, it is predicted that Arsenal will just nip into the top four rather than Spurs. Mikel Arteta's team have a 75.2 per cent chance of qualifying for the Champions League, and just 24.8 of finishing in a Europa League place.

While Stats Perform AI only gives Arsenal a minuscule opportunity of taking third off Chelsea, they have a 73.9 per cent chance of securing fourth place and featuring in the Champions League for the first time since 2016-17.

It seems likely that much will be decided on May 12, when Spurs welcome Arsenal to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Antonio Conte's team are predicted to finish fifth (72.4 per cent), and only have a 24.7 per cent likelihood of clinching fourth.

United are forecast to finish sixth (65 per cent), albeit there is the possibility they could even end 2021-22 in seventh. That position, however, seems set to be filled by West Ham, who have to win against Eintracht Frankfurt next week to keep their hopes of a Europa League triumph alive – success in that competition would take them into the Champions League, regardless of where they finish domestically.

TOFFEES CHAMPIONSHIP-BOUND

It has been a dismal season for Everton, who head into Sunday's clash with Frank Lampard's former club Chelsea sitting in the bottom three for the first time since 2019 (when, ironically, they beat a Chelsea side managed by Lampard).

Lampard has taken 10 points from his 12 games in charge, and they are now predicted to finish in 18th place. The model gives them a 29.8 per cent chance of escaping the drop and finishing 17th and just a 17.4 per cent likelihood of coming 16th. Their run-in includes three away games, and Everton have the worst away record in the competition – 12 of their 19 defeats coming on the road and they have taken just six points on their travels all season.

Burnley sit two points clear of Everton in 17th after two successive victories and are given a 39.4 per cent chance of staying put, although the likelihood of the Clarets' finishing 18th is not dissimilar (36.5 per cent).

Leeds have tough fixtures against City, Arsenal and Chelsea coming up before they host Brighton and Hove Albion and visit Brentford, though Stats Perform AI gives them only a 12.9 per cent chance of relegation.

Watford are heavily predicted to stay put in 19th too, with Norwich given a 67.4 per cent probability of finishing bottom – the model reckons they have a 0.1 per cent chance of avoiding the drop.

Thomas Tuchel is looking forward to meeting Frank Lampard in person for the first time and says the man he succeeded as Chelsea boss will always remain a Blues great.

Lampard won 11 major trophies across a legendary 14-year playing career with Chelsea and remains the London club's all-time leading scorer with 211 goals

The 43-year-old had less success in the Stamford Bridge dugout, however, as he lasted just 18 months at the helm before being sacked in January 2021.

Tuchel guided Chelsea to Champions League glory four months later and has won the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup this season.

Lampard is now in charge of Everton and has a serious task on his hands in keeping the Toffees in the Premier League.

Speaking ahead of their first managerial meeting at Goodison Park on Sunday, Tuchel revealed Lampard reached out to him when the German was first appointed by Chelsea.

"He sent me a very kind and respectful message after I took over," Tuchel said. 

"It meant a lot because I was a huge fan of him as a player and he'll remain a legend at our club, that's a given. I was very happy when he wrote me the gentlemanly message. 

"We didn't have a chance to meet before. When took over at Everton he took one of our assistants away with him (Joe Edwards) so we were not so happy with that! 

"We will see some familiar faces, with Joey and Ashley Cole also there. I never met Frank in person so I'll be happy to meet him. 

"But we arrive with our team needing points, and Everton need the points urgently as well."

 

Lampard will be the 10th former Chelsea manager to take charge of a Premier League match against the Blues.

Only one of the previous nine has won their first such match, with Claudio Ranieri winning 2-1 with Leicester City in December 2015.

Lampard may not have won any silverware while in charge of Chelsea, but he was widely praised for giving younger players such as Reece James and Mason Mount a chance.

The pair have continued to thrive under Tuchel, who is more than happy to select academy products if they are good enough for the first team.

Asked if he is grateful to Lampard for his previous work at the club, Tuchel said: "Frank didn't do it to do them a favour. Every coach does it because it's about helping them team. 

"If Thiago [Silva] helps us we don't care how old he is, and we don't care how young somebody is – if you're ready, you're ready. 

"I strongly believe you'll find your way if you have what it takes. I'm incredibly grateful for the academy quality and culture at Chelsea to push these boys through. 

"This is top, top quality. It is our job to let them play and push them – this is what Chelsea is all about."

Chelsea drew 1-1 with Manchester United on Thursday to move eight points ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham in the race for Champions League football.

Everton's focus is on surviving the drop, with Sunday's contest the first time they have started a league game in the relegation zone since December 2019.

The Toffees beat Chelsea 3-1 on that occasion and Tuchel is not taking anything for granted this weekend at a raucous Goodison Park.

"Everyone tells me about the atmosphere at Goodison – how emotional and tough it is to play there," the German said. "I'm excited to go there and we expect a tough fight."

Referee Stuart Attwell was correct not to award Everton a penalty in Sunday's Merseyside derby at Anfield, according to former Premier League official Mark Clattenburg.

Relegation-threatened Everton wanted a spot-kick when Liverpool's Joel Matip challenged Anthony Gordon in the area early in the second half when the game was goalless.

The claims were waved away, though replays suggested there was contact between the pair.

After the match, Gordon told Sky Sports that Matip had stepped on his foot, while Frank Lampard suggested that had the incident occurred at the other end of the pitch, and an Everton player had challenged Mohamed Salah, a spot-kick would have been awarded.

Everton have reportedly contacted the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) over the incident, while it has been reported that the Football Association (FA) have asked Lampard to explain his comments.

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said on Sky Sports that it was a "stonewall penalty" but suggested that Gordon, who had been booked for simulation earlier in the match, had to be careful not to build a reputation of being a diver.

Though Clattenburg disagrees that it was a penalty, he did echo Carragher's sentiments. 

"It's difficult because Gordon got cautioned early in the match," Clattenburg told Stats Perform. "I've watched him over the last months and he does go to ground a little bit too easy.

"And you don't prejudge things, you never prejudge things as a referee, however, it's in there as a doubt in your back of your mind that when a player goes down on the little contact, that you're probably not going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

"So he probably didn't get the benefit of the doubt on the second one after being cautioned earlier and a match for simulation.

"If he had a chance to stay on his feet, I think he could have had the chance and he took the option to go down and the contact's minimal. For me, I think the best decision was play on."

There have been 12 bookings for simulation in the Premier League this season and half of these have been given to Everton players, with three of those coming across their two meetings with Liverpool.

The Reds, meanwhile, have gone 46 Premier League matches without conceding a penalty. That is 22 more than the next-longest active run (Manchester City - 24).

Asked about Lampard's comments, Clattenburg said: "I think that's a perception of football fans. From a refereeing point of view, we just want to get the right decision.

"With the support of VAR, the problem that they have sometimes is if the referee does give the penalty, the VAR wouldn't overturn it, because he doesn't give the penalty. He doesn't overturn it and people think well, why? Where's the right decision?

"There's no right decision or wrong decision as to what the referee gave at that time and he believed that Gordon had tried to win his team a penalty. Lampard's going to be upset - he's a coach, it was a really tight game at that point 0-0 at the time, so he's going to be upset because Everton could have won the Merseyside derby, fighting for their lives at the bottom."

Divock Origi kept up his run of scoring against Everton as his late goal helped Liverpool claim a 2-0 win in the Merseyside derby.

The Reds were made to work hard by struggling Everton, who went into Sunday's match in the relegation zone after Burnley had defeated Wolves earlier on.

Liverpool are now back within a point of their Premier League title rivals Manchester City, while third-placed Chelsea moved five points clear of fourth-placed Arsenal with a last-gasp win over West Ham.

Brighton and Hove Albion and Southampton played out a 2-2 draw in the day's other game. Here, using Opta data, Stats Perform checks the best facts from Sunday's action.

 

Chelsea 1-0 West Ham: Pulisic spares Jorginho's blushes

Chelsea turned in a below-par performance against West Ham, but got over the line thanks to Christian Pulisic's last-gasp winner.

The Blues had lost their previous two matches at Stamford Bridge and looked set to be on their way to a third home game without a win when Jorginho sent a poor penalty straight at Lukasz Fabianski.

Jorginho had converted each of his last 13 penalties for Chelsea, excluding shoot-outs, with this being his first failure to score from the spot for the Blues since Boxing Day 2020.

But Pulisic swept in from Marcos Alonso's cross to win it. The United States international has been directly involved in 10 goals in 32 appearances for Chelsea across all competitions this term (seven goals, three assists), matching his tally from last season when he made 43 appearances.

Burnley 1-0 Wolves: Clarets out of the bottom three

Burnley claimed a second win on the bounce to lift themselves above Everton and move out of the relegation zone.

They have now won three home Premier League games in a row for the first time since a run of five between December 2016 and January 2017, and that is the same number of victories as they managed across the 26 games beforehand.

Indeed, Burnley have picked up seven points in their three Premier League games under Mike Jackson (W2 D1), the same number of points as Sean Dyche picked up during his final eight league games at the club (W2 D1 L5).

Wolves, meanwhile, have now suffered more defeats in their last five away league games (four) than they had in their first 12 on the road this season (W7 D2 L3).

Matej Vydra grabbed Burnley's winner. Four of his eight top-flight goals for the Clarets have been ones to claim three points.

Brighton and Hove Albion 2-2 Southampton: Ward-Prowse closes on free-kick record

James Ward-Prowse scored both of Southampton's goals as they came from behind to rescue a point in the south coast derby against Southampton.

Despite scoring as many goals on Sunday as they did in their previous seven home Premier League matches, Brighton failed to win a game in which they led by at least two goals for just a third time in the competition (P23 W20 D2 L1), having won each of their previous 13 such matches.

But after an own goal put Brighton further ahead, Ward-Prowse's excellent free-kick halved the deficit. He has now scored 14 direct free-kick goals in the top flight, just four shy of David Beckham's record, while only the Manchester United great and Laurent Robert (both five) have netted more free-kicks in a single season.

Ward-Prowse doubled his tally and restored parity with another long-range effort, and 44 per cent of his league goals for the Saints have come from outside the box (17/39).

Liverpool 2-0 Everton: Origi strikes again to give Toffees the Blues

It took Liverpool until the 62nd minute to break the deadlock at Anfield, though they were arguably fortunate not to have conceded a penalty not long before.

Nevertheless, Liverpool's dominance finally told as Everton's back-to-the-wall display was broken – Andy Robertson heading in before Origi scored late on. The striker has now netted six times in nine league appearances against Everton, scoring once every 62 minutes on average.

Liverpool have lost just one of their last 23 Premier League games against Everton (W10 D12), completing the league double over their neighbours for the first time since 2016-17. They now have 79 points, 50 more than Everton, which is the joint-largest margin they have held in the competition (along with the 2019-20 season).

Everton will end the day in the relegation zone for the first time since December 2019 (also after a derby defeat at Anfield), while this is the furthest into a season, after 32 games or more, the Toffees have found themselves in the bottom three since 1998-99.

They have lost 11 of their last 12 Premier League away games (D1), including each of the last seven in a row. It is their longest run of consecutive away defeats since a run of eight between April and October 1994.

Origi has now scored 11 goals as a substitute in the Premier League, the outright most by a Liverpool player, overtaking Daniel Sturridge's 10. 

Liverpool recorded a possession figure of 82.7 per cent against Everton – only Man City (83 per cent v Swansea City in April 2018) have recorded a higher such figure in a Premier League game since Opta started collecting this data (2003-04). 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was ecstatic with the efforts of Divock Origi in his side's 2-0 win against Everton on Sunday.

Origi was subbed on in the 60th minute with the game goalless before Liverpool broke the deadlock just two minutes later through an Andy Robertson header.

The Belgium striker capped off his performance by sealing victory from close range in the 85th minute.

Origi has scored six goals against Everton in all competitions for Liverpool, which is twice as many goals as he has scored against any other side for the Reds, who remain a point behind Premier League leaders Manchester City.

His finish also marked the striker's 11th goal as a substitute in the Premier League, the outright most by a Liverpool player, overtaking Daniel Sturridge's 10.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the victory, Klopp heaped praise on Origi.

"[Origi] is a world-class striker," he said. "He's our best finisher, definitely – he always was, and everybody [at Liverpool] would say the same. 

"You see him do these kinds of things in training, and then he's not in the squad because of the quality of other players. It's really hard. 

"We will never miss a player like him because if he leaves, he will explode wherever he goes… he is a legend and will stay a legend forever. 

"He doesn't always make the squad which is ridiculous, but he is there when we need him every time… everything that we did in the second half, without Divock, wouldn't have happened."

Klopp went on to highlight the depth of this Liverpool squad, with players that are unlucky to not be playing more minutes.

"The group lives because of the boys that don't always play – they are the strongest players ever," he added.

"[Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain, [Harvey] Elliot, [Takumi] Minamino, even Rhys Williams. They are in great shape, but the way they behave is why we do these kinds of things."

Everton winger Anthony Gordon must "be careful" about developing a reputation for diving after the youngster was denied a penalty in the 2-0 loss to Liverpool.

That is according to former Liverpool captain Jamie Carragher, who hailed Gordon but expressed concern for the 21-year-old potentially gaining a deceitful image among Premier League referees.

Gordon was cautioned for an apparent dive in the first half at Anfield following a Naby Keita challenge inside the area, before he saw penalty appeals for a foul by Joel Matip waved away after the interval.

While suggesting his alleged play-acting might be an issue with referees, Carragher believes the latter incident should have seen Gordon - and Everton - awarded a spot-kick.

"He's got to be careful Anthony Gordon," he said on Sky Sports. "He's a great lad, a great player – he was one of the best players on the pitch [on Sunday], caused Liverpool all sorts of problems.

"But he's got to be careful of that. It's not the first one [dive] and it will be in the referees' heads and maybe he hasn't got what he deserved because of a few incidents in three or four other games but that's a stonewall penalty [the Matip foul]."

Fellow pundit Graeme Souness echoed Carragher's comments as he suggested Liverpool players will immediately have been pressuring Stuart Attwell following Gordon's first-half booking.

"In the very first few minutes when he [Gordon] dived to try and get a penalty," Souness added. "You can bet, if we're players out there, we're getting in the referee's ear – 'he's a diver ref' – so you're planting the seed as well."

However, Everton manager Frank Lampard questioned whether his side would have received different decisions away from Anfield.

"I think they both could have been penalties but you often don't get them at Anfield," Lampard told BBC Sport.

"The fact there's contact and he gets booked is crazy. The second one was a foul [anywhere else] on the pitch. Sometimes you don't get them here."

In his post-match news conference, Lampard added: "If that was [Mohamed] Salah at the other end, he gets a penalty. You don't get them here. That's the reality of football sometimes."

Gordon, meanwhile, was infuriated.

"The second one for me was the strongest, I've gone one-on-one with him and I've got the better of him and he's stood on my foot which has caused me severe pain and I've gone down," Gordon told Sky Sports when asked about his two penalty claims.

"The first one I've watched back, I've felt the contact and went down, but I can see why he hasn't given it but it's certainly not a yellow card or a dive because there's contact."

Defeat left Everton in the relegation zone after 32 matches for the first time since April 1999, following Burnley's win over Wolves, and the Toffees are 50 points behind Liverpool – the joint-biggest lead the Reds have had over their Merseyside rivals.

Lampard also expressed his pride in Everton's performance, with their game plan clear – their 32 passes in the first half was the fewest by a team in the first half of a Premier League game since November 2006 – before Liverpool's quality told in the end.

"They're in a different area to us. They're near the top of the table, they've been together a long time and have a strong style of play," he said.

"We had to be organised and disciplined. I couldn't ask for more at half-time except taking our chances. I'm proud and happy with the performance. We have to take that spirit forward to the final games."

Jurgen Klopp joked "thank god a game has two halves" after Liverpool improved on a below-par first-half showing to overcome Everton 2-0 in Sunday's Merseyside derby.

The Reds failed to register a shot on target in the first half of a home Premier League game for just the second time this season against a resolute Everton side.

Liverpool continued to struggle early in the second period, but Andy Robertson broke the Toffees' resolve with 62 minutes played from the home side's first attempt on target.

Substitute Divock Origi added a late second with his sixth goal against Everton in all competitions, twice as many as he has netted against any other side as a Liverpool player.

A 12th win in 13 top-flight matches moves Liverpool back to within a point of leaders Manchester City, but Klopp conceded his side were far from their best against Everton.

"Thank God the game has two halves," he told BBC Sport. "We didn't play particularly well in the first half. They made it uncomfortable but we didn't get in behind the last line. 

"We didn't have enough movement and weren't quick enough. We passed the ball into the area where they had nine players. 

"In the second half we were much more direct and caused them much more problems. The goals were wonderful."

Klopp added: "The amount of wins we've had in recent months is insane. You have to work. The boys did that again. I'm really happy.

"We stayed really cool and calm. The changes helped, fresh players, different formation. It made it difficult for the opposition. We won 2-0, it's absolutely fine."

Liverpool's 82.75 per cent possession is the second most a side has managed in a Premier League game since at least 2003-04, when such records were first recorded, behind Man City's 82.95 against Swansea City in 2017-18.

Everton's 32 passes in the first half is the fewest by a team in the division since November 2006, meanwhile, but Klopp insisted he was not surprised by the visitors' tactics.

"We expected it," he said. "We expected them to do it, but we didn't react well. It's difficult.

"Each ball Jordan Pickford has he takes five minutes so we couldn't gain rhythm which you need to break down a low block."

Everton may have registered only one shot on target, but they had a strong penalty appeal rejected at 0-0 when Joel Matip put his arm across Anthony Gordon inside the box.

Gordon, who had earlier been cautioned for diving, argued after the match that a spot-kick should have been awarded, though Klopp had a different view of the incident.

"It was clearly no penalty," the German said. "He's really good but he's lucky not to get a second yellow. The first was not a penalty and the second wasn't."

Following Burnley's win against Wolves earlier on Sunday, Everton find themselves in the relegation zone at this stage of the season for the first time since April 1999.

"Everton did what they had to do," Klopp added. "We deserved the three points. With a performance like this I think they can get the points they need.

"If anybody thinks we fly through these games, I can apologise, it won't happen. If we can create atmospheres like today it's difficult to deal with us for 95 minutes."

Liverpool moved back to within a point of Premier League leaders Manchester City with a battling 2-0 win over Everton on Sunday thanks to second-half goals from Andy Robertson and Divock Origi.

The Reds were frustrated for the best part of an hour by Merseyside rivals Everton, who dropped into the relegation zone ahead of kick-off following Burnley's earlier win over Wolves.

Neither side registered an attempt on target in an at times feisty first half, but Robertson made the all-important breakthrough after 62 minutes with a header from close range.

Origi added a late second against his favourite opponents as Jurgen Klopp's side made certain of a 12th win in their past 13 top-flight outings to stay within touching distance of City with five games left to go.

Former Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt has said he finds the high levels reached by the Reds and Premier League title rivals Manchester City "amazing".

Kuyt played for Liverpool between 2006 and 2012, winning the EFL Cup in his final season at Anfield.

However, having already secured the same trophy this season, Liverpool have three more titles in their sights as they look to complete an unprecedented quadruple.

Liverpool sealed a place in the FA Cup final against Chelsea after beating City 3-2 at Wembley last week, have a Champions League semi-final against Villarreal on the horizon, and sit just a point behind Pep Guardiola's team in the race for the Premier League title.

Speaking to Stats Perform, Kuyt praised the levels of both title rivals, saying: "There's something changing if you play an opponent more than two or three times in a season and that's happening with Liverpool and City now.

"It's very interesting because we have already seen two very good games between Liverpool and City. In my opinion, City was a little bit the better team in the Premier League match [a 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium] but obviously in the FA Cup semi-final, Liverpool showed what they are capable of.

"It's just amazing what a high level these kinds of games are because I didn't see better games than the Liverpool and City games this season."

The Dutchman scored 67 goals in 281 games for Liverpool in all competitions, and enjoyed a particularly strong record in Merseyside derbies, scoring five goals in 11 Premier League appearances against Everton.

Jurgen Klopp's side entertain Everton on Sunday, with the Toffees in the midst of a relegation fight, and Kuyt says the derby is on the minds of people in the city.

"You can already feel it the week before," he said. "So we are a couple of days before the derby game, and once I landed in Liverpool, when I came from Amsterdam this morning, people are already talking about the derby game and it's massive for the city.

"You've got families, one is for Liverpool, the other one is for Everton. So yeah, it's just a great game and a really important game.

"I used to play in these games. Thankfully, I won more than I lost but for Liverpool and the city, it's very important. Liverpool will win again on Sunday.

"I was used to playing these kinds of games in Holland with Feyenoord and Ajax, and when I came to Liverpool, this game together with the Man United game was one of the most important games of the season. I loved these kinds of games the most when everyone is fully up for it, so I really enjoyed it and I was happy to score important goals."

When asked for his favourite derby memory, Kuyt pointed to the game at Goodison Park in the 2007-08 season in which he scored two penalties, including one in second-half stoppage time to win it, though he was also perhaps fortunate to avoid a red card for a challenge on Phil Neville earlier in the contest.

"If I have to go back it's when I scored two penalties, and one in [injury] time," he said. "And somewhere in between I tried to kick somebody and thankfully I didn't get a red card. [It was a] special game for me and to celebrate the winning goal in [injury] time with the fans was something I'll never forget."

The records and statistics are there to be broken, so we are told, and never was that more true than on Everton's most recent trip to fierce rivals Liverpool in February 2021.

An early Richarlison strike and Gylfi Sigurdsson's late sealer from the penalty spot earned Everton a 2-0 win, snapping the Toffees' 22-year wait for victory at Anfield.

That success, coming on the back of a 20-game winless run away to Liverpool in the Premier League, gave Everton bragging rights and moved them level on points with the Reds.

Fourteen months on from that game, though, and the fortunes of the rival clubs could not be much different.

While Liverpool are still on track for an unprecedented quadruple of Premier League, FA Cup, EFL Cup and Champions League, relegation is a real possibility for Everton.

The stakes could not be much higher in this latest encounter at Anfield, then, in a contest that will have huge permutations at both ends of the division.


Liverpool targeting rare derby double

That aforementioned defeat in this corresponding fixture last season was the only time Liverpool have lost to Everton in their past 22 Premier League encounters.

The Reds eased to a 4-1 win when the sides last met four months ago, but only once in the past 10 seasons – in 2016-17 – have they completed the league double in this fixture.

While Everton have struggled for victories against their neighbours, they have at least managed to claim plenty of draws down the years.

Indeed, no Premier League fixture has finished level more often than this one, with the sides playing out 24 draws in total.

Red cards and late drama

The Merseyside derby is also out in front in another couple of categories, namely the most red cards issued, proving this game lives up to its reputation as being a fierce contest.

Twenty-two red cards have been dished out in 59 previous Premier League encounters, which is five more than any other fixture.

Liverpool versus Everton has also witnessed the most 90th-minute winners in the competition's history, with five goals being scored in added time at the end of a game.

They don't like Sundays

On the form book alone, Everton do not stand a chance this weekend. 

The Toffees have lost 10 of their last 11 away league games, including each of the last six, which is their worst-such run since going eight without a point in 1994.

Unsurprisingly, then, Everton have won fewer away points than any Premier League side this term with just six, whereas Liverpool's 42 home points is more than anyone else.

Yet Sunday may just be the best time for Frank Lampard's men to face the team from across Stanley Park.

Having won 14 straight home Premier League matches on that day of the week, Liverpool have since won just two of their last seven Sunday fixtures, losing two of those.

Salah out to shine

Amid ongoing questions over his future, Mohamed Salah returned to form by scoring his first goals in seven matches for Liverpool in the midweek win over Manchester United.

Everton need no telling of Salah's eye for goal as the Egypt international was on target twice in December's reverse fixture, with Jordan Henderson and Diogo Jota also netting.

Salah is now out to become the first Liverpool player since Dick Forshaw in 1925-26 to score multiple goals in both league meetings with Everton in a single campaign.

All eyes may be on Salah, but back-up striker Divock Origi has also inflicted his fair share of pain on Everton.

Origi's five Premier League goals against Everton are the most he has managed against a single side, and three of those have proved to be the winning strike.

Jurgen Klopp declared "thank God these people don't make decisions" when asked if in-form Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara had won over his doubters.

Thiago arrived from Bayern Munich ahead of the 2020-21 season with many pundits questioning whether he would slow down Liverpool's high-octane game and if he could adapt to the rigours of the Premier League.

A maiden campaign disrupted by injury, and one that saw depleted Liverpool scramble to secure Champions League football, may have given rise to those who hold such a viewpoint.

But it always looked a sketchy opinion at best and Thiago is sparkling in a Reds side who still hold aspirations of a sensational quadruple.

Having dominated Manchester City in last week's FA Cup semi-final with his exquisite range of passing, the Spain international repeated the trick in a 4-0 dismantling of rivals Manchester United in midweek.

For Liverpool boss Klopp there was never any doubt about the qualities Thiago would bring to his midfield.

"People questioned if he suits us? Thank God these people don't make decisions," Klopp said ahead of Sunday's Merseyside derby against Everton.

"If a player calms games down in moments, it's just of course nothing we thought. Thiago wanted to join us and he knew how we play. He thinks a lot about football.

"I don't like to talk too much about one player. Not that he doesn't deserve it but I leave this room and I can hear that such and such a player is injured, so let's just carry on."

Liverpool have already secured the EFL Cup this season, are in the final of the FA Cup, have a semi-final against Villarreal in the Champions League on the horizon, and trail City by a solitary point in a thrilling title race.

Klopp concedes such pressure is not always the most enjoyable experience for this star-studded squad.

"[They don't enjoy it] all the time, but a lot. It's an incredibly tough situation and we play pretty much all the time," he added.

"We love the situation we are in. You cannot plan being in everything. We won one competition, that's great, but there are still three more competitions to go.

"We are looking forward to everything that is coming up."

While the red side of Merseyside is rocking, Everton are in a perilous position.

The Toffees are just a point above the drop zone after Burnley defeated Southampton on Thursday, albeit with a game in hand, and are in a desperate situation as the season draws to a close.

Klopp hopes Frank Lampard's side can find a way to stave off the drop.

"Of course [I would miss playing Everton]," he said.

"Playing United the other night makes it different, usually the full week before you play Everton there are full talks about the derby."

Merseyside Police are investigating an incident involving Cristiano Ronaldo after Manchester United's Premier League defeat at Everton on Saturday.

A video emerged on social media of United forward Ronaldo appearing to smash a fan's phone as he left the field following the game at Goodison Park.

The Portugal forward issued an apology on Instagram after the Red Devils were consigned to a 1-0 defeat.

Allegations of assault were made against Ronaldo and Merseyside Police are looking into the incident.

A widely released statement from Merseyside Police said: "We can confirm that we are liaising with Manchester United Football Club and Everton FC following reports of an alleged assault at the Everton v Manchester United football match today (Saturday 9 April 2022) at Goodison. As players were leaving the pitch at 2.30pm it was reported that a boy was assaulted by one of the away team as they left the pitch.

"Inquiries are underway and officers are currently working with Everton Football club to review CCTV footage and are carrying out extensive witness enquiries to establish if an offence has taken place."

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo explained his actions and offer to host the fan at Old Trafford "as a sign of fair play and sportsmanship". 

"It's never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing," Ronaldo wrote. 

"Nevertheless, we always have to be respectful, patient and set the example for all the youngsters who love the beautiful game. 

"I would like to apologise for my outburst and, if possible, I would like to invite this supporter to watch a game at Old Trafford as a sign of fair play and sportsmanship." 

Cristiano Ronaldo apologised after he appeared to smash a fan's phone following Manchester United's 1-0 loss at Everton on Saturday. 

Anthony Gordon's deflected first-half strike consigned United to a second straight Premier League away defeat for the first time since January 2020. 

It was a significant blow to the Red Devils' hopes of qualifying for the Champions League, with Tottenham's victory over Aston Villa later in the day leaving Ralf Rangnick's side six points adrift of the top four. 

Following the final whistle, a video emerged on social media which claimed to show Ronaldo breaking an Everton supporter's phone by throwing it into the floor. 

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner subsequently took to Instagram to explain his actions and offer to host the fan at Old Trafford "as a sign of fair play and sportsmanship". 

"It's never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing," Ronaldo wrote. 

"Nevertheless, we always have to be respectful, patient and set the example for all the youngsters who love the beautiful game. 

"I would like to apologise for my outburst and, if possible, I would like to invite this supporter to watch a game at Old Trafford as a sign of fair play and sportsmanship." 

United have now triumphed in just eight of their 17 Premier League games under Rangnick, with the German's 47 per cent win ratio the club's worst under any manager in the competition. 

David de Gea issued a damning assessment of Manchester United's quality and acknowledged it will be "very difficult" for them to finish in the top four. 

United succumbed to a surprise 1-0 loss to relegation-threatened Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday, with Anthony Gordon's deflected strike proving to be the difference. 

Ralf Rangnick has now triumphed in just eight of his first 17 Premier League games as the Red Devils' boss, giving him a win percentage of 47% – the worst of any manager the club has had in the competition. 

It was United's eighth defeat of the season – only the eighth time they have lost that many games in a single campaign but the sixth since 2012-13. 

They could find themselves six points adrift of the top four by the end of the weekend, with De Gea admitting they lack the requisite quality to qualify for next season's Champions League. 

"We knew before today they were struggling and how difficult it was going to be," De Gea told BT Sport. 

"We don't score, we don't even create proper chances to score. I don't know what to say, to be honest. We're not good enough, that's for sure. It's going to be very difficult now to be in the top four. 

"Of course, it's not the perfect atmosphere. They were tired, they were nervous, but they keep going and keep fighting. They had more desire than us, which is not acceptable. It's very sad to lose today." 

Rangnick will move into a consulting role at Old Trafford at the conclusion of the season, with Ajax boss Erik ten Hag reported to be the frontrunner to take over. 

Mauricio Pochettino has also been linked with the role, but Rangnick does not believe the uncertainty can be used to excuse a dismal run of one win in seven in all competitions. 

"I don't think this should be an excuse. We are Manchester United. We have lots of international players. There shouldn't be an alibi," Rangnick said. 

"There will be a new manager next season. If this is announced now or in 10 days, it shouldn't have an impact." 

He added: "If you don't score a single goal in 95 minutes, we have to be disappointed. We had a good start and should have created more chances out of that domination. Then we concede a deflected shot and lost a bit of our composure. 

"The second half we were trying to add creativity with substitutions, but we didn't always take the right decision. 

"We had to do something. We needed a goal and we decided to bring on [Juan] Mata and more verticality with [Anthony] Elanga. 

"They were defending with their players in the last 35 minutes. We didn't find the right player at the right moment. We didn't have enough players in the box when we played crosses." 

Anthony Gordon scored the only goal as relegation-threatened Everton dented Manchester United's Champions League qualifying hopes with a 1-0 win at Goodison Park.

The Toffees boosted their Premier League survival bid with Gordon's deflected first-half strike sealing consecutive home victories for the first time since September.

United remain three points off the top four, although the deficit could be extended to six should either Arsenal or Tottenham win later today.

Meanwhile, Everton move four points clear of the relegation zone after only a third success in 10 league games under Frank Lampard, who was under pressure following the 3-2 loss to fellow strugglers Burnley on Wednesday.

Ralf Rangnick's side made a bright start as they sought consecutive away wins over Everton for the first time in the Premier League since September 2007.

Marcus Rashford was looking for his first goal since netting the winner against West Ham in January, and it took two brilliant saves from England team-mate Jordan Pickford to prevent him from ending his drought inside the opening quarter of an hour.

Despite having just 35 per cent of possession, it was the hosts who broke the deadlock in the 27th minute when Gordon's 20-yard strike deflected past David de Gea via Maguire.

De Gea came to the visitors' rescue later in the half with magnificent reflexes to tip Richarlison's deflected looping effort over the crossbar.

Everton continued to press for a second goal after the break, with Ben Godfrey heading over from a corner, while it took an important block from Victor Lindelof to deny Gordon from eight yards.

At the other end, Anthony Elanga fired over and Paul Pogba tested Pickford from distance but, despite dominating possession, United were unable to convert it into an equaliser.

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