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Everton looks to end drought versus rivals Liverpool

Some big rivalries highlight an action-packed weekend in the Barclays Premier League, including a new chapter in the storied Merseyside Derby.

Soccer Authority breaks down what you need to know for three of the biggest matches in the Premier League.

Everton v Liverpool

Under pressure Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers knows that a win against bitter city rivals Everton will do a lot to silence his doubters this Sunday.

Liverpool have struggled early in 2015-16 and that was highlighted in midweek when they could only manage a disappointing 1-1 draw with Swiss side Sion in the Europa League. A 3-2 victory at home to Aston Villa last Saturday ended a run of four Barclays Premier League matches without a win, and key players were rested in midweek ahead of this game.

Everton are on a good run of form with three wins from their last four matches in all competitions. Everton sit in fifth place, four places above Liverpool. However, the Toffees have not tasted Merseyside derby success over Liverpool since October 2010.

Everton put in another good showing this week when they came from two goals down to beat West Bromwich Albion 3-2 at The Hawthorns last Monday. However, boss Roberto Martinez is having to contend with a lengthy injury list.

While Seamus Coleman and John Stones could return from hamstring and knee injuries respectively, Muhamed Besic (hamstring), Tom Cleverley (ankle/foot), Leighton Baines (ankle/foot), Tony Hibbert (knee) and Steven Pienaar (hamstring) are all out.

For Liverpool, Dejan Lovren (ankle), Roberto Firmino (back) and captain Jordan Henderson (foot) are all sidelined.

Match Facts

– Everton have gone nine league matches without a victory against their neighbors Liverpool. They have not gone 10 without a victory against the Reds since 1984 (a run of 11 matches).

– Liverpool have lost just one of their last eight BPL matches at Goodison Park, losing 2-0 in October 2010. The last three have ended in draws.

– Daniel Sturridge has scored five times against Everton in the league. The only club he has more league goals against is Newcastle United (6).

Arsenal v Manchester United

Arsenal versus United was always seen as a title-defining fixture around the turn of the century, as Arsene Wenger’s side dueled for supremacy with Alex Ferguson’s United.

Both sides have struggled to challenge in the last couple of seasons, but Sunday’s contest at the Emirates Stadium once again has a top-of-the-table edge to it. With Arsenal sitting just three points behind league leaders United, this is a crucial game even at this stage of the season.

Arsenal’s impressive 5-2 victory at the King Power Stadium last Saturday was followed up by a 3-2 home defeat to Olympiacos in the UEFA Champions League. David Ospina was controversially selected in goal during the week but Petr Cech is set to return this weekend.

United will travel to north London on the back of four-consecutive wins in all competitions. Last Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Sunderland moving them top of the BPL table for the first time in over two years. A 2-1 win over Wolfsburg in mid-week in the Champions League means the Red Devils will go to Arsenal in excellent form.

Laurent Koscielny (hamstring), Mikel Arteta (knock) and Mathieu Flamini (hamstring) are definitely out, but Wenger expects Francis Coquelin to be fit.

Match Facts

– Manchester United are unbeaten in four away matches against Arsenal. They have never gone five without a loss away to the Gunners in the Barclays Premier League era.

– Arsenal’s win rate of 24 percent against Manchester United in the BPL is their lowest versus any team in the competition.

– Wayne Rooney scored his first Barclays Premier League goal (October 2002), his first league goal for Man Utd (October 2004) and his 100th BPL goal (January 2010) against Arsenal.

– Louis van Gaal has lost just one of his five meetings with Arsene Wenger (all competitions).