Liverpool cannot afford another slip-up if they are to realistically remain in the Premier League title hunt.
Therefore Saturday's visit of big-spending Manchester City to Anfield is hardly an ideal post-international break fixture for embattled manager Rafa Benitez.
Five defeats from their opening 12 games have left the Reds down in seventh place in the table and another defeat will surely increase the calls for the head of the manager.
Benitez will be boosted by the return of influential skipper Steven Gerrard, who has been struggling with a groin injury which forced him out of England's clash against Brazil in Qatar last Saturday.
Glen Johnson, who also missed the England defeat, could be kept out with a calf strain.
Main man Fernando Torres is still troubled by a groin injury and is unlikely to be risked once again.
Meanwhile, table-toppers Chelsea will be confident of continuing their unrelenting charge to a Premier League title that has eluded them for the last three campaigns with a home clash against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
So far the online betting favourite Blues have won all six games at home and it would take a brave man to bet against them this weekend.
Manchester United must pick up three points against Everton on Saturday evening if they are to avoid slipping further behind Chelsea.
They sit five points behind the Blues following their 1-0 reversal at Stamford Bridge the weekend before the international break and a win is essential if Sir Alex Ferguson's men are to keep in touch.
Everton will travel to Old Trafford with nothing to lose as they are going through a disastrous run of results and injuries.
Sunderland face a daunting fixture against Arsenal at Stadium of Light on Saturday as the visitors look to continue their almost unnoticed rise up the table.
Visiting manager Steve Bruce will be more aware of the threat the Gunners will pose as they have climbed to second in the table on the back of many superb performances.
Hull City face a basement battle with fellow strugglers West Ham United at the KC Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Manager Phil Brown, whose future remains in doubt, will know the importance of picking up maximum points from the clash against the London side.
Just one point separates the two at the foot of the table with West Ham sitting inside the relegation zone and Hull just outside it.
Burnley face a difficult test against Aston Villa at Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon.
They will still be in high spirits after picking up their first point on their travels after snatching a late 3-3 draw at City of Manchester Stadium against Manchester City before the international break.
Martin O'Neill's Aston Villa will prove the hosts with a stern test as they sit in fifth place and they will want to consolidate their spot in the European places.
Meanwhile, Birmingham City entertain Fulham on Saturday afternoon at St. Andrew's and a win for either side would seriously ease their relegation jitters.
Alex McLeish's side currently sit in 15th place and their previous three results have aided their improving climb up the table.
Fulham are also going through a healthy streak in the league and they remain undefeated in their last five fixtures.