THE 888.com Premier League Darts’ top two players, Phil Taylor & Gary Anderson, will clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on Thursday, as the fight for Play-Off places alongside the pair continues.

The 12th of 14 league nights in this year’s £410,000 tournament will be held in Liverpool, with four vital matches in store as players eye spots in the semi-finals at the Wembley Arena on May 19.

Taylor, who is unbeaten in ten matches since the opening night, will play Anderson in a clash of the sport’s two form players this week.

Taylor edged out Anderson 8-6 when they met previously in Manchester, but the Scot followed up a victory over the Stoke legend in a UK Open Qualifier recently by hitting a Premier League record 11 180s in his win over Simon Whitlock last week.

“I always enjoy playing Phil and this will be no different,” said Anderson. “I know what kind of game I’m going to get from Phil and what I’ve got to do to beat him.

“If I play like I did last week it will be a great game but I’ve got to finish better. My scoring was brilliant last week but I was disappointed with my doubles and if they’re right Phil can’t afford to miss anything.”

Taylor enjoyed a fine 8-3 win over Adrian Lewis in Birmingham a week ago, avenging his only defeat this season with a brilliant display to set himself up perfectly for the clash with Anderson.

“I know Gary hit 11 maximums last week and I’ll have to try and hit 12 180s against him on Thursday,” said Taylor. “He’s a great player and people know how highly I rate him – the two players in the game to watch out for at the minute are him and Adrian Lewis.

“It should be a great game and I can’t wait – Liverpool’s one of my favourite Premier League venues, there’s something special about the arena and the fans.”

The night in Liverpool will also feature three other crucial games in the battle for Play-Off places, with five players still able to qualify for the semi-finals alongside Taylor, who is certain of a top-four finish, and Anderson, who needs just one point to mathematically ensure his place at Wembley.

Terry Jenkins has to win his three remaining games, beginning with a clash against the league’s bottom player Mark Webster, who has lost his last four games 8-1.

“Mark’s a brilliant player and the results don’t reflect what his ability is,” said Jenkins. “It’s his first year in the Premier League but if he’s in it next year I think it will be different for him.

“I could have done with Mark winning his game against James Wade last week to give me a better chance of making the top four.

“It’s an uphill battle for me but we’ll see how the final few weeks go. I’ve got to play James and Adrian, so if I can beat both of them then anything could happen.”

Wade lifted himself level with fourth-placed Simon Whitlock last week with a third straight victory, averaging a season’s-best 106 in defeating Webster.

The 2009 champion now plays Raymond van Barneveld in Liverpool, with the Dutchman currently third on 13 points and knowing that a win could secure his Play-Off place.

“James has done well in the last couple of weeks and it’s going to be a very hard game,” said van Barneveld.

“I’m very focused on the next three games because I’m not in the semi-finals yet and I know it’s the same for James too.”

The night’s other game sees Whitlock meet World Champion Lewis, who has slipped to sixth place after suffering three successive 8-3 defeats.

“Some of the other results went for me [on Thursday] but this is a massive match for me now if I’m going to make the play-offs,” said Lewis.

“I’m really looking forward to playing Simon. I’ve got to push on now and I can’t see me losing any of my last three matches.”

A small number of tickets for Thursday’s 888.com Premier League Darts at the Echo Arena, Liverpool remain on sale via 0844 8000 400 orwww.echoarena.com.

Meanwhile, darts fans can now vote for the forfeit which the losing players in the 888.com Team Challenge will have to undertake next month.

The 888.com Team Challenge sees the eight players split into two four-player teams, with Team Blue (Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld, Gary Anderson & Terry Jenkins) against Team Green (Adrian Lewis, James Wade, Simon Whitlock & Mark Webster).

The team with the fewest total of league points accumulated by its players at the end of the season will have to complete a forfeit, which can be voted for now by darts fans at www.888.com/dart.

888.com Premier League Darts
Week 12 – Echo Arena, Liverpool

Mark Webster v Terry Jenkins 
Gary Anderson v Phil Taylor
Raymond van Barneveld v James Wade
Adrian Lewis v Simon Whitlock
Tickets: 0844 8000 400 or www.echoarena.com

888sport.com Match Odds
Mark Webster 2/1, Draw 15/4, Terry Jenkins 5/6
Gary Anderson 7/2, Draw 9/2, Phil Taylor 4/9
Raymond van Barneveld Evs, Draw 7/2, James Wade 13/8
Adrian Lewis 13/10, Draw 15/4, Simon Whitlock 13/10

Current League Table

P W D L +/- Pts
Phil Taylor 11 10 0 1 +43 20
Gary Anderson 11 8 0 3 +25 16
R v Barneveld 11 6 1 4 +10 13
Simon Whitlock 11 5 0 6 +2 10
James Wade 11 5 0 6 -9 10
Adrian Lewis 11 4 1 6 -1 9
Terry Jenkins 11 2 2 7 -29 6
Mark Webster 11 2 0 9 -41 4

Source PDC/Lawrence Lustig

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