Soccer

Liverpool FC primed to keep Everton in dark in latest Merseyside Derby

Liverpool FC primed to keep Everton in dark in latest Merseyside Derby

The Merseyside Derby is as one-sided as English Premier League rivalries go. 

Since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, Liverpool FC have only lost to cross-town rivals Everton nine times in 54 league meetings. The Reds have 23 wins themselves, outscoring the Toffees 72-46 during that time. Everton have not beaten Liverpool since Oct. 17, 2010, and they haven't won in the unfriendly confines of Anfield in the 21st century. 

"I'm from Merseyside," Men In Blazers co-host and lifelong Everton supporter Roger Bennett told NBC Sports Bay Area earlier this season. "The special nature of it is really the darkness. It matters. It almost matters too much. ... So, joy is carefully rationed out in little parcels, and it's really a day of incredible darkness."

The longtime rivals couldn't be in more disparate positions this campaign.

Liverpool are eight points clear atop the table entering Wednesday, and the reigning UEFA Champions League winners appear primed to win their first-ever Premier League title, if not a domestic treble. Their manager, Jurgen Klopp, already is a cult hero in the Red part of the city. Everton, meanwhile, sit 17th, just two points clear of relegation.

Manager Marco Silva's seat reportedly is red-hot, and Wednesday's match conceivably could be his last in the Everton dugout. 

The Toffees' reality lies in stark contrast to their hopes entering the season. From March 1 onward last season, Everton lost just twice in their final 11 Premier League matches. The club showcased its ambition this summer, highlighting designs for a new waterfront stadium and spending £118.5 million on incoming players. Great expectations quickly gave way to despair, with Everton winning just three of their first 10 matches. 

That darkness Bennett mentioned has loomed all season, with Everton residing firmly in Liverpool's shadow. BBC Sport's Phil Dawkes found that Liverpool's current 26-point lead over Everton is the fifth-biggest between the two sides in a single season -- and there still are 24 matches left. Three of the six-biggest gaps have occurred since the 2017-18 campaign.

Barring a shocking result Wednesday at Anfield, things are likely only going to get darker. The rivals will meet twice over the next month, with Liverpool hosting Everton in the league on Wednesday and then again on Jan. 4 in the FA Cup. A Liverpool win Wednesday would create a 29-point gap -- the fourth-largest between the rivals -- and another win on Jan. 4 would leave the Carabao Cup as Everton's only hope of winning their first trophy since 1995. Assuming they aren't eliminated by Leicester City on Dec. 18 in that competition, that is. 

[RELATED: Man City thumps Burnley on road thanks to Jesus brace]

Everton, arguably, are due for better results this season. Their expected-goals difference, according to StatsBomb, ranks eighth in the Premier League. The Toffees have allowed four more goals than expected, and some well-timed regression to the mean combined with their rivals' propensity to leave things late against lesser competition seems like a formula for a potentially season-saving draw. 

But given where these clubs stand, it's more likely that Wednesday's Merseyside Derby will once again be defined by darkness for Everton. 

Tottenham-Norwich live stream: Watch EPL game online on NBC Sports Gold

spursnorwichstreamap.jpg
AP

Tottenham-Norwich live stream: Watch EPL game online on NBC Sports Gold

With the end of the winter transfer window looming, every Tottenham Hotspur (8-7-8; 31 points) match could be Christian Eriksen's last.

Spurs manager José Mourinho confirmed the Danish midfielder will be in the squad Wednesday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium against Norwich City (4-5-14; 17 points), but how much longer is anyone's guess. Eriksen has been linked to a move with Inter Milan, and the club's sporting director said Monday that the Italian giants have submitted a bid. Eriksen reportedly turned down a contract extension with Spurs earlier this season, and the clock is ticking on Tottenham's ability to get any kind of transfer fee for him, as his contract is set to run out this summer. 

Norwich frustrated Tottenham in a 2-2 draw at Carrow Road on Dec. 28, twice taking the lead over Spurs. The Canaries got a big boost in their quest to avoid relegation Saturday, beating fellow cellar-dwellers Bournemouth at Carrow Road. They're still six points from safety, though, so Wednesday's match firmly is in must-win territory. 

[RELATED: Luiz red card sets Arsenal back in wild derby draw with Chelsea]

Here's how to watch Wednesday's Tottenham Hotspur-Norwich City match exclusively streaming on NBC Sports Gold. 

When: Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT
Stream: NBC Sports Gold

You can also watch Leicester City-West Ham streaming exclusively on NBC Sports Gold during that window. 

Manchester United-Burnley live stream: How to watch EPL game online, on TV

burnleyunitedap.jpg
AP

Manchester United-Burnley live stream: How to watch EPL game online, on TV

Three days after losing at Anfield to rival Liverpool, fifth-place Manchester United (9-7-7; 34 points) can gain ground in the race for UEFA Champions League qualification Wednesday at Old Trafford. 

United can move three points back of fourth in the Premier League if they beat Burnley (8-3-12; 27 points) at the Theatre of Dreams, thanks to Chelsea's draw with Arsenal on Monday. The Clarets will test the Red Devils, though, as Burnley are coming off of a 2-1 comeback win over Leicester City. 

Manchester United will again be without injured forward Marcus Rashford, who has a stress fracture in his back. Rashford's injury leaves United dangerously thin up front, yet Burnely resorted to a patchwork attacking group against Leicester in the absence of Ashley Barnes (hernia) and Johann Berg Gudmundsson (thigh). In other words, don't be surprised if both sides struggle for goals Tuesday. 

[RELATED: Newcastle's Lejeune scores absurd stoppage-time brace] 

Here's how to watch Wednesday's Manchester United-Burnley match online and on TV. 

When: Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 3:15 p.m. ET/12:15 p.m. PT
TV: NBCSN
Online: NBC Sports