With Liverpool four for four despite turning in some sub-par performances, this international break could be viewed either as a welcome opportunity to iron out the creases or an inconvenient obstacle to building some momentum.
Above all, Jurgen Klopp will hope that his key players, particularly the three members of his fearsome attack, return from their global escapades unscathed.
Let’s take a look at what lies in store for the Reds called-up by their national managers.
England: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana
Gareth Southgate’s resurgent Three Lions host Spain at Wembley on Saturday in their first UEFA Nations League game, live on Sky Sports, before entertaining Xherdan Shaqiri’s Switzerland at the King Power Stadium three days later.
The four Reds involved, then, will stay close to home. Gomez is hoping to carry his hugely impressive domestic form onto the international stage, while Adam Lallana is looking to get some valuable minutes under his belt after finding opportunities hard to come by at Anfield. Henderson and Alexander-Arnold, who made last summer’s World Cup squad, should both play a part.
Brazil: Alisson Becker, Fabinho, Roberto Firmino
Brazil head to New Jersey at the end of the week for a meeting with the United States before playing El Salvador at FedExField in Maryland in the early hours of Wednesday morning (UK time).
Alisson could maintain the starting role he enjoyed in Russia, but Firmino will hope for an improved role after being forced to watch from the sidelines for much of the tournament. Fabinho has yet to make the bench for Jurgen Klopp’s side as he is eased into the fold following his summer arrival from Monaco so could be in for his first minutes of the season.
The trio will return to the UK shortly after they play El Salvador, but their preparation time for the huge visit to Wembley Stadium the following Saturday will be frustratingly limited.
The Netherlands: Virgil van Dijk, Georginio Wijnaldum
The Dutch entertain Peru in Amsterdam on Thursday evening before taking the short trip to face World Champions France in their first Nations League game. Reds fans can watch that one on Sky Sports.
Skipper van Dijk and Wijnaldum have both started the season in good form, no doubt catching the eye of manager Ronald Koeman. They are set to play a key role as Oranje bid to recover from the disappointment of missing out on consecutive major tournaments.
Egypt: Mohamed Salah
Salah should be fresh for the game against Tottenham given that Egypt only have one match in the next fortnight – an African Cup of Nations qualifier at home to Niger on Saturday.
One could reasonably suspect that much of the focus will be on off-field matters amid Salah’s long-running dispute with the Egyptian FA. Many have urged the megastar to call time on his international career.
Senegal: Sadio Mane
Mane, who wore the armband at the World Cup, will also be hoping to help his country take a step towards qualification when they visit Madgascar on Sunday.
The team will be looking to the on-form forward to ensure they can swiftly move on from the agony of their group-stage elimination, which came down to yellow cards.
Guinea: Naby Keita
Guinea, led by Liverpool’s new recruit Keita, play the Central African Republic in Conakry this weekend.
There will be two qualifiers for the club’s African contingent to navigate during the next international break, but on this occasion they can return with plenty of time to spare before the domestic season resumes.
Scotland: Andrew Robertson
Congratulations Robbo… better get in the gym to make sure that arm band doesn’t fall off! ??♀️? https://t.co/3pUdmprSeU
— James Milner (@JamesMilner) September 3, 2018
Andy Robertson, confirmed as the Scots’ new permanent captain on Monday, will dream of leading his country back onto the major tournament scene. His journey with the armband begins against Simon Mignolet’s Belgium in Glasgow on Friday evening.
The game against Albania three days on will also be played at Hampden Park. Robertson, then, should return with minimal fatigue.
Croatia: Dejan Lovren
World Cup runners-up Croatia face two tough-looking friendlies in the space of five days. An away game against Portugal on Thursday is followed by a Nations League clash with Spain on September 11.
Rather curiously, Lovren has made the squad despite being ruled out of Liverpool’s early games with injury. If he does feature for his national side, it may indicate that something is amiss.
Klopp would certainly be furious if the defender was rushed back into action and his injury was aggravated.
Switzerland: Xherdan Shaqiri
It will be a reasonably short trip back to Liverpool for Shaqiri after the Swiss play England in Leicester. Before that, they host Iceland on Saturday evening.
Shaqiri has been restricted to some solid cameos from the substitutes’ bench so far but plays a much more important role for his country.
England U21: Dominic Solanke
England’s U21s host the Netherlands on Thursday before travelling to Latvia on Tuesday for another European Championships qualifier.
Solanke will only play a support role at Liverpool this season but is a key player for the Young Lions, who he has represented successfully since 2012.
Staying at Melwood
Joel Matip and James Milner have retired from international football so will continue to train in Liverpool. Nathaniel Clyne, Alberto Moreno, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi are the notable names who will join them, having been left out by their respective sides.