Manchester City's international stars should be back in England now and there will be no time wasted in preparation for the visit of Liverpool on Saturday.
The Premier League's top two meet at the Etihad to kick off what will be a hectic winter schedule across league, cup and European football. City go into the weekend top of the table but will need to at least avoid defeat in order to stay there come Monday.
Pep Guardiola may have to welcome Liverpool with several key players on the sidelines. Erling Haaland is a doubt after picking up an ankle injury while on international duty, while the likes of John Stones, Mateo Kovacic and Nathan Ake are also carrying issues.
READ MORE: City vs Liverpool injury latest
Here are your Thursday evening headlines.
City will unveil their lasting tribute to Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee and Francis Lee next Tuesday on the morning of their Champions League game with RB Leipzig.
There are already works of galvanised steel by sculptor Andy Scott celebrating the achievements of Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero at the east side of the Etihad. And chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak was keen to get a different perspective to recognise another golden era of the football club.
David Williams-Ellis, a classically-trained sculptor with a global reputation whose works include a D-Day memorial above Gold Beach in Normandy, has spent the last few years attempting to capture the best of three of City's best players from the late 1960s and early 1970s era. The work will be on the west side of the stadium, and will be in position in time for the Champions League game next week.
“It is a great honour to create a work of art for Manchester City Football Club celebrating the diverse, talented players, Bell, Lee and Summerbee," Williams-Ellis said. “It’s been an extraordinary last two years, working on this project that celebrates these players from a great era in Manchester City’s football history."
Jamie Carragher is confident Liverpool will not walk away from the Etihad Stadium with three points when they face City this weekend.
The top two face off in the Premier League in the first match back since the international break with only a point separating them. City currently lead the way on 28 points but only three points separate them and fifth place Aston Villa.
Pep Guardiola is also sweating on the fitness of a few of his first-team starters including Erling Haaland and Ederson. Jurgen Klopp has a couple of injuries too but the quantity is by no means as great as City's.
Despite this, Carragher is not confident his former club will be able to come away with maximum points this weekend. He told Sky Bet's Stick to Football podcast: "It will be tough - the best Liverpool will get is a draw."