Table-topping van Gerwen needs just a point from his match against Andy Hamilton after missing the chance to cement his place in the finals, which take place at London’s O2 in a fortnight, with defeat to Whitlock last week.
The 24-year-old Dutch ace bounced back to win his fifth UK Open qualifier from the series of eight events on Sunday, however, and is determined to take that form to Merseyside.
He told the PDC’s official website: “Winning on Sunday was good preparation for me because I’ve got a couple of tough weeks ahead in the Premier League.
“Last week was disappointing for me and I don’t like losing, but it’s part of the game and you can’t win for 14 weeks in a row. I missed too many doubles but it’s a new game this week and I’ve got to make sure I win against Andy.”
Thornton will need to complete a historic double over reigning champion Phil Taylor in order to stay in contention for a play-off spot.
‘The Scotsman’, whose victory over ‘The Power’ in Brighton was his third in their last four televised meetings, would be the first player in the Premier Leagues eight year history to defeat the 16-time World Champion twice in one season should he repeat the feat in Liverpool.
‘The Thorn’ conceded that Taylor, who is looking to cement his top four position, will be out for revenge.
He’ll be out for my blood!” said Thornton.
“I’m just going to go up on stage and do my best and enjoy myself, and whatever happens will happen.
“You’ve got to thrive playing against the best players and I’ve done that for most of this season. If you don’t play at your best then they’ll run riot against you.”
Wade will qualify for the play-offs if he wins both of his matches on Thursday, as he takes on Whitlock and Hamilton, who both need wins and other results to go their way to stay in with a chance of a place in the finals.
van Barneveld faces Adrian Lewis, the only player that is mathematically out of the running for a top four finish, with the Dutchman hoping to seal his play-off place after missing out last year.
By Chris Murphy