After a fortnight of window shopping, injury-list watching, and general thumb-twiddling, we won't have to wait long to find out how our weekend will go. Chelsea have the early kickoff up on the blue side of Merseyside. Win, and suddenly things might look ok. Draw, and the dark clouds gather ever more. Lose, and ... well, I don't even know.
Does this mean this game is a must-win? Is our season, barely five games old, is it already at such a desperate juncture that we'd face a must-win match in what is traditionally not a happy place for us? Sure, we won there 6-3 last season, but the likelihood of a similar result is even lower than, say, Roberto Martinez shutting up about Chelsea's pursuit of John Stones already. On that note, if he does actually think we broke the rules, why not report us already? Oh, and maybe stop talking about Dynamo Kiev's Andriy Yarmolenko, too, at the same time, no? Or does that not count? What a joke.
But, all that is just a sideshow. Sticks and Stones and whatever money can or can't buy hardly matters right now. What matters is a win and three points. The alternatives are far too complicated (and scary?) to even contemplate.
Date / Time: Saturday, September 12, 2015, 12:45 BST; 7:45am EDT; 5:15pm IST
Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool, England
Referee: Andre Marriner — we could do with eagle-eyed Andre sending off a couple players in the incorrect shade of blue.
Forecast: Cooler, breezy, showery.
On TV: BT Sport 1 (UK); NBCSN, NBC Universo (USA); Star Sports 4 / HD 4 (India); elsewhere
Online: BT Sport (UK); NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Deportes En Vivo Extra (USA); Star Sports (India)
Everton team news: The Toffees are one of the Premier League leaders in terms of injuries, with no less than 7 absentees. Leighton Baines is the biggest loss; his long-term injury will keep him out for some time still. The backup left backs are hurting as well, Bryan Oviedo and young Brendan Galloway are both nursing knee injuries. Deadline day signing (how unfair!) Ramiro Funes Mori might be thrown in at the deep end right away. Tom Cleverley, Tony Hibbert, Darron Gibson, and Steven Pienaar complete the injury list.
For a more in-depth look at the hosts, do check out our opposition scouting report.
View from the enemy: Royal Blue Mersey
Chelsea team news: The big news is that Courtois is injured. Fortunately, Asmir Begovic is good enough. Who else might be good enough to start is a much bigger question however.
Does Mourinho drop Ivanovic? Terry? Matic? Hazard? Fabregas? He hinted at changes before the international break, with several players not playing up to his expectations. Does he actually follow through? Does he give one last chance to the group that got us the title last season? Does he play the players not involved in this past week's international games? Using Zouma (if he's available following the birth of second child) against Lukaku seems like a good idea to me. Is the real Eden Hazard back yet? Is Oscar fit and ready to go?
So many questions. Too many questions! Not nearly enough answers, if any at all. I'm fully expecting a lineup anywhere between a completely unchanged one (outside of the enforced goalkeeper change) and a completely changed one. Kenedy at sweeper (libero), you heard it hear first!
Previously: One shining moment.