The first Merseyside derby of the season looms at Goodison Park at Saturday lunchtime.

It is one of the most intriguing derbies in years, with Everton sitting atop the Premier League table after a flawless start.

Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp’s men were ripped apart 7-2 by Aston Villa last time out.

The ability of both managers to prepare their squads for the game will be impacted by the international break beforehand.

That will mean that players have faced trips all over the world over the past week or so, with some only returning a couple of days before the big match.

We’ve had a look at how the Toffees’ assignments on international duty compare with their bitter rivals.

England v Belgium - UEFA Nations League
(Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

Liverpool’s internationals

Two Liverpool players who would ordinarily have been in international action, Sadio Mane and Thiago, have not been away this week after contracting Covid-19.

That may mean that two of Jurgen Klopp’s top performers are fresher than they would ordinarily have been, but plenty of his other players will be in action.

Roberto Firmino was in action for Brazil in Peru in the early hours of this morning, where Fabinho was an unused substitute. The Brazilian international pair face the longest journeys of any Liverpool players, clocking up 6,000 miles to get home.

Jordan Henderson, Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold could be in action for England tonight, but their travel time will be far more comfortable.

Andy Robertson, Gini Wijnaldum and Virgil van Dijk will also likely play tonight, for Scotland and the Netherlands. Takumi Minamino was in action in Japan’s win over Ivory Coast last night, but he is unlikely to start on Saturday anyway.

Xherdan Shaqiri was also in action in Switzerland’s 3-3 draw in Germany but it would be a surprise if he played at Goodison.

Colombia v Venezuela - South American Qualifiers for Qatar 2022
(Mauricio Dueñas-Pool/Getty Images)

Everton’s excursions

James Rodriguez and Yerry Mina face the longest journey of any player expected on show on Saturday, flying back from Chile, where Colombia drew 2-2 this morning.

Meanwhile, Richarlison also played alongside Firmino in that Brazil clash in Peru, where Neymar sealed a 4-2 win.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Jordan Pickford could play for the Three Lions against Denmark, but Michael Keane has not been named on the UEFA squad sheet for the match.

In terms of first-teamers in action on Wednesday, the main one is Lucas Digne, who could play in Croatia for France in the Nations League.

Gylfi Sigurdsson will likely play for Iceland against Belgium in England’s Nations League pool, but may not start against the Reds.

Ultimately, Ancelotti will be hoping Rodriguez, Mina and Richarlison come back fresh for the biggest match of the season so far.

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