Van Barneveld took a 1-0 lead courtesy of 107, 131 and 96 checkouts to take the opening three legs but that did not affect Van Gerwen, who responded by taking the next leg with a 124 finish before sealing the set to level the scores.
"I think during the game I was in full concentration and it was a bad moment for me".
"Maybe he wanted to give me the trophy".
"I missed a few doubles, but after that I somehow got back into the game". I've worked so hard for this. "I did what I had to do because Gary is a phenomenal player and all the credit to him".
Anderson said: "It's well deserved for Michael with the year he's had, but I've had a good three years".
In a match which included a new world record of 42 180s, Van Gerwen averaged 108.06 while Anderson ended the game on 104.93 - considerably higher than what he averaged when winning the world title the previous two years.
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That included three NFC Championship Game appearances and one failed fourth-down conversion from winning a Super Bowl. Baalke was informed of his firing Friday, per the report. "It's nevertheless highly, highly unlikely".
A defeated Anderson admitted the better player had won.
Anderson headed into the final as two-time defending champion but the "flying Scotsman" was no match for "Mighty Mike's" rampant form throughout the competition.
Even before a dart was thrown, the record number of maximums for the championship had been broken, with 666 overtaking the 654 from past year.
After taking the first set, Van Gerwen let his standards slip in the second and third, missing a succession of doubles, but a run of five successive legs took him into a 3-2 lead.
And during the middle of his press conference, Van Gerwen took a phone call from Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to offer his congratulations.