Sadio Mane, N’Golo Kante & the international stars at risk of missing Premier League Return

After rigorous match-ups in the international break, the Premier League returns this weekend with a host of mouth-watering duels – though the World Cup qualifiers have taken their toll with several stars picking up injuries and others racing to get back to the UK.

With so much on the line in so many crunch qualifiers, the latest round of international fixtures also proved to be a particularly bruising one, with many of the Premier League’s top teams losing important players to injury. That leaves plenty of doubts for this weekend.

Barely 72 hours after finishing playing their World Cup qualifiers in Brazil and Ecuador, for example, key players from both Liverpool and Manchester United will need to be rushed back to England to make Saturday’s early kick-off.

                   ARSENAL’S WORRIES

KAISERSLAUTERN, GERMANY – OCTOBER 8: Injured, Shkodran Mustafi of Germany leaves the pitch between Doctor Jochen Hahne and physio Klaus Eder during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Germany and Azerbaijan at Fritz-Walter Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Kaiserslautern, Germany. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)


Alexis Sanchez (v Brazil, Wed, Sao Paulo) – 11 hours / 9400km

David Ospina (v Peru, Wed, Lima) – 12 hours / 10100km

Shkodran Mustafi (thigh injury picked up with Germany)

Laurent Koscielny (Achilles injury picked up with France)

Sead Kolasinac (calf injury picked up with Bosnia-Herzegovina)

                        CHELSEA’S WORRIES

France’s defender N’golo Kante (R) is comforted by France’s coach Didier Deschamps (C) after he was substituted during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying football match between Bulgaria and France at The Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia on October 7, 2017. (Photo credit: NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images)


Willian (v Chile, Wed, Sao Paulo) – 11 hours / 9400km

N’Golo Kante (hamstring injury picked up )

                   LIVERPOOL’S WORRIES

PORTO ALEGRE, BRAZIL – AUGUST 31: Philippe Coutinho of Brazil celebrates their second goal during the match Brazil v Equador – 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifier, at Arena do Gremio on August 31, 2017, in Porto Alegre, Brazil. (Photo by Lucas Uebel/Getty Images)


Philippe Coutinho (v Chile, Wed, Sao Paulo) – 11 hours / 9400km

Roberto Firmino (v Chile, Wed, Sao Paulo) – 11 hours / 9400km

Sadio Mane (hamstring injury picked up with Senegal)

            MANCHESTER CITY’S WORRIES

MERIDA, VENEZUELA – SEPTEMBER 06: Nicolas Otamendi of Argentina celebrates after scoring the tying goal during a match between Venezuela and Argentina as part of FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifiers at Metropolitano Stadium on September 06, 2016 in Merida, Venezuela. (Photo by Yaikel Dorta/LatinContent/Getty Images)


Ederson (v Chile, Wed, Sao Paulo) – 11 hours / 9400km

Danilo (v Chile, Wed, Sao Paulo) – 11 hours / 9400km

Fernandinho (v Chile, Wed, Sao Paulo) – 11 hours / 9400km

Gabriel Jesus (v Chile, Wed, Sao Paulo) – 11 hours / 9400km

Claudio Bravo (v Brazil, Wed, Sao Paulo) – 11 hours / 9400km

Nicolas Otamendi (v Ecuador, Wed, Quito) – 14 hours / 9200km

Fabian Delph (hamstring injury picked up with England)

              MANCHESTER UNITED’S WORRIES

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – JUNE 16: Luis Antonio Valencia of Ecuador looks on during a Quarterfinal match between USA and Ecuador at CenturyLink Field as part of Copa America Centenario US 2016 on June 16, 2016 in Seattle, Washington, US. (Photo by John Froschauer/LatinContent/Getty Images)


Antonio Valencia (v Argentina, Wed, Quito) – 14 hours / 9200km

Sergio Romero (v Ecuador, Wed, Quito) – 14 hours / 9200km

Marouane Fellaini (knee injury picked up with Belgium)

Daley Blind (hamstring injury picked up with the Netherlands)