When Morgan Schneiderlin pulled up short in the first half of Everton’s game against Hull City even before the international break, few fans knew it was a portentous sign of worse things to come.
Just days afterward, a half-fit James McCarthy pulled out despite being named in the starting lineup for the Republic of Ireland. In the same game, Seamus Coleman suffered a horrendous double-break. Days later Ramiro Funes Mori left an Argentina game clutching his knee, only to find out he would need surgery for a meniscus tear.
Ronald Koeman now goes into the 228th Merseyside Derby minus those four players, and looking at naming a very young and inexperienced matchday squad, with Muhamed Besic not ready to play yet and Yannick Bolasie also out until 2018.
For crosstown rivals Liverpool, the international break was not as damaging, but did put out of consideration midfielder Adam Lallana, who could miss up to a month with a thigh injury.
The Derby comes to soon for club captain Jordan Henderson who is still recovering from a foot ailment. Striker Daniel Sturridge will miss the game as well, and remains out indefinitely with a hip issue. Marko Grujic and Danny Ings are also out.
Roberto Firmino was rumoured to have a throat infection, but came through a midweek game for Brazil and should be fine for the game.