International duty is always a time when club teams hold their breaths, and a number of clubs are already sweating injury concerns.
The biggest bomb to drop from the first set of games was Mesut Ozil’s knee injury which will keep him out of action for at least two months and likely longer.
As Arsenal is already struggling with injury concerns, the loss of Ozil was heavy-hitting to the Gunners. But they aren’t the only club watching their players come back less than fit. Before the second match has even begun, there’s plenty of news to come.
Liverpool midfielder Lazar Markovic is thought to have torn an unspecified muscle on duty with the Serbian national team in a disappointing 1-1 draw with Armenia.
The 20-year-old appeared to be struggling through the first part of the match, and was substituted off before the half hour mark.
Initial reports have Markovic at least out 2-3 weeks, but if there is a tear involved it could be longer. With Liverpool already missing a number of defenders, and Emre Can also struggling with fitness, this could be an even bigger blow to the club’s attempt to turn around a difficult start.
And it could get even worse for Liverpool. Defender Dejan Lovren has been diagnosed with an abdominal muscle strain, which means he has a slight tear. According to ESPN’s injury expert Ben Dinnery, Lovren could be out for two to four weeks, leaving Liverpool with just two central defenders.
Finally, another top Premier League club faces some time without one of their best players as Eden Hazard’s toe injury is worse than originally expected. His toe was reported to have been turned blue, and according to Dinnery, it could affect his availability for the upcoming Premier League trip to Crystal Palace.
Chelsea described Hazard as their version of Lionel Messi, but they could be hindered without him. He withdrew from Belgian camp, and a diagnosis is yet to come. However, according to Belgian coach Marc Wilmots, it’s the other way around and Hazard is close to being healthy.
So who really knows what Hazard’s status is, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye on. Remember, this is the same Marc Wilmots that hoped Thibaut Courtois would play two days after getting knocked out on the field and suffering a concussion.