Is Everton gaining on Merseyside rival?

September, 30, 2011

The Merseyside derby highlights the Saturday Premier League schedule, as Everton welcomes Liverpool at Goodison Park on ESPN2 and ESPN3 at 7:30 a.m. ET. Perhaps "welcomes" is the wrong word for one of the fiercest rivalries in the league:

• There have been 19 red cards handed out in the 38 Premier League matches between these clubs. All of them have been in the past 29 meetings, with current players Steven Gerrard and Phil Neville each being sent off twice. The 19 ejections represent the most in any Premier League fixture.

• Everton has won only once in the rivals' past nine meetings, a 2-0 home triumph last October. After that win and a draw at Anfield last season, the Toffees seek to go unbeaten in three straight matches versus Liverpool for the first time since a nine-game undefeated stretch from November 1994 to October 1998.

• Liverpool leads the Premier League series 16-9-13. Oddly enough, all nine of Everton's wins have come in the first meeting of the season. Simply scoring may be enough for Liverpool to stem that trend. In the past 11 derbies at Goodison Park, Liverpool has won each time after scoring a goal. Everton has won by shutout in the three other matches.

• Coming off a loss at Manchester City, the Toffees look to avoid losing consecutive league matches for the first time since November 2009. Everton's run of 67 straight league games without back-to-back losses is the longest active streak in the Premier League, nearly double the second-best current run, a 34-match streak by Manchester City.

• Tim Howard has started 150 consecutive Premier League games for Everton. He and Leighton Baines were the only Toffees to play every league minute last season. Baines led all EPL defenders with 11 assists in 2010-11, but he seeks his first official assist of this campaign.



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