Liverpool could very well be unable to call upon seven senior faces at Anfield as injury issues continue to arise throughout the international break.
It’s a worst-case scenario for the Reds, who host Arsenal on Saturday on the first game back from the final international break of 2021.
A total of 15 senior players received a call up this month and it’s not been as smooth sailing as Jurgen Klopp will have hoped for, with two early returnees due to injury.
Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane have both undergone a scan after their involvement in the country’s respective opening games, casting doubt over their involvement on the league return.
The captain’s issue is unknown but Gareth Southgate confirmed a “small injury” was shown on his scan, while Mane returned to Merseyside after a rib injury that Senegal manager Aliou Cisse said was “nothing serious.”
The hope is that precaution was the name of the game but if Liverpool acts in a similar vein then Saturday may come too soon with 11 games swiftly following until the end of the calendar year.
And there is no guarantee that Naby Keita and James Milner (both sidelined with hamstring injuries) will be fit enough to feature against the Gunners.
The former dropped out of international action with Guinea this month due to the issue picked up in the draw with Brighton, while Curtis Jones will need to have recovered from his freak eye injury.
Klopp couldn’t provide an exact timeline for their respective returns prior to the break other than saying a non-commital, “back after the international break” to leave plenty in the air.
It leaves too many question marks over the midfield ranks, with Fabinho, Thiago and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain now the last standing to look the likeliest combination at Anfield at this stage.
Roberto Firmino is, of course, sidelined with a serious hamstring injury and Liverpool can ill afford to see Mane join him in the treatment room for long.
The onus would then be on the likes of Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi to step up alongside Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota.
Joe Gomez rounds off the injured list, aside from long-term absentee Harvey Elliott, with a calf injury having kept him away from the last two matchday squads.
The hope is now that Henderson and Mane both swiftly overcome their fitness concern, those currently undergoing rehab are on the finishing stretch and that no further issues arise in the final days of the international break.
Possible XI vs. Arsenal: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Thiago, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Origi, Jota