The international break is the bane of Premier League fans and Dream team gaffers alike.
The season comes to a grinding halt and several of the league’s best players invariably get injured.
With two Game Weeks still to go before the next batch of transfers become available, this is a potentially decisive period in the season game.
Liverpool players have been the most notable casualties of the international break.
Salah, the third-most picked player in Dream Team, was forced off in Egypt’s African Cup of Nations qualifier against (the country formerly known as) Swaziland.
The forward scored directly from a corner before he was struck down with a worrying muscle strain.
Jurgen Klopp’s talisman has struggled in front of goal this season and this latest setback could add further woes to his campaign.
Salah’s Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane (£6.2m) also suffered an injury while away on international duty with Senegal.
The ex-Southampton winger has a suspected broken thumb and is all but certain to miss the Reds’ game against Huddersfield at Anfield this coming weekend.
Mane has been a shadow of his usual self in recent weeks.
Incredibly, he has just -1 points to show for his efforts in his last five games.
Mane’s struggles have coincided with Liverpool’s torrid run of fixtures in recent weeks.
You would think that their upcoming fixtures (Huddersfield, Cardiff, Fulham and Red Star) will bring more joy for Klopp’s men.
Your move, gaffers – stick or twist?
Naby Keita (£2.5m) was carried off by team-mates during Guinea’s AFCON clash with Rwanda.
The dynamic midfielder picked up a suspected hamstring injury in the first-half and was forced off before the break.
The extent of Keita’s injury is not yet known, but it’s another concern for the Liverpool star following his back injury against Napoli.
9% of you are about to crash the Guinean FA’s website as you hunt for the latest on his problem.
Defensive linchpin Virgil van Dijk (£4.4m) is yet another Liverpool player to be plagued by the international break curse.
It has been revealed that the towering centre-back broke two of his ribs against his former club Southampton in September, but has continued to play through injury.
The Dutchman has received regular injections and Liverpool had hoped he would skip international duty.
The centre-back is rumoured to be fit enough to feature in Game Week 9, but it could well be touch-and-go before kick-off on Saturday.
Several other Premier League stars will also return to their clubs in poor shape…
Sokratis £2.5m – Arsenal
The 30-year-old reportedly twisted his ankle in Greece’s Nations League game against Finland.
Sokratis has impressed for the Gunners this season but a lack of clean sheets means he has just 15 points to his name.
Wilfried Zaha £4.5m – Crystal Palace
Zaha flew home early from AFCON duty with Ivory Coast.
The £4.5m midfielder picked up a suspected thigh injury and has returned to Palace for further assessment.
Roy Hodgson could be without his main man for the clash with Everton in Game Week 9.
Danilo £3.1m – Man City
Danilo picked up an ankle injury in Brazil’s friendly victory over Argentina.
The City defender looked visibly distraught after going down in the second half.
Marouane Fellaini £2.7m – Man United
A groin injury has ruled Fellaini out of contention for Belgium during the international break.
The towering midfielder is likely to be absent for an important run of fixtures for United, including clashes with Chelsea, Man City and Juventus.
Danny Rose £3.1m – Spurs
Rose has been in-and-out of the Spurs starting eleven for much of the current campaign.
The full-back is set for yet another prolonged spell on the sidelines.
Rose withdrew from Gareth Southgate’s England squad with a groin injury and the full extent of the problem is not yet known.
As if you needed any more reason to hate the international break…
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