Arsenal are crocked – Djourou is injured already, the Prince of Denmark has snapped a wrist packing rubber bands in envelopes, while Alex Song is extremely doubtful. Diaby and Denilson face late tests on their souls.
Fabregas and van Persie are two more unlikely starters, after spending the summer kickboxing and DNA cleansing respectively.
God knows who will be in goal, or at least standing close to the goal.
Helpfully, Liverpool are starting from a base of being rubbish, Torres is still writhing on the turf in Soccer City while Steven Me and Carra have probably had new signing Joe Cole hanging on a cloakroom peg since he arrived on Merseyside.
Javier Mascherano, meanwhile, tried to stow away to Spain in the backpack of a Seville student he met in Copperface Jacks during the week. Only booing from bystanding members of the Manchester United and Ireland faithful alerted caretaker Argentina manager Sergio Batista, who packed Javier back to Liverpool on the next ferry.
Good news for urchin Jack Wilshere, who will be free to pick Scouse pockets as shiftless Javier shrugs diffidently, nervously eyeing his cross wife in the Kop.
So Jack will set up Chamakh for the opener. Or at least his astute clip will tempt Bacary Sagna forward, virtually obliging him to pop a tasty centre onto the greasy crown of Marouane, who will slither it beyond the grope of Reina.
And all will be well until late in the piece, when Dirk Kuyt, lathered in the sweat and grime of fruitless toil will simply ooze from the grasp of frail Franco-Pole Koscielny and gobble up the crumbs that have spilt from the table of a despairing, pink-clad goalkeeper.
1-1. And nobody is too dejected.