Their visitors from Turin entered the international break with a much-needed four points from their two most recent games, but have it all to do if they are to rise above the lower reaches of the table.
Inter seemed to spend much of the international period at war with various football federations worldwide - having a particularly vicious back-and-forth with Chile's coach Reinaldo Rueda over his nation's apparently rough treatment of forward Alexis Sanchez.
However, while the club hierarchy were somewhat distracted, laser-focused coach Antonio Conte has undoubtedly been plotting how to reduce his side's growing points deficit to neighbours AC Milan, to whom they lost the Derby della Madonnina in mid-October.
Finishing the pre-internationals block of fixtures with another, slightly more low-key Lombardy derby, the Nerazzurri had to settle for a hard-earned point away to Atalanta just before the break. Both teams had been eager to bounce back from previous Champions League defeats with a win, but the draw was ultimately a fair result in Bergamo.
The return of Alessandro Bastoni - along with Slovakia centre-back Milan Skriniar - to an injury-hit defence has has helped to stabilise Conte's rearguard significantly in recent weeks. In turn, the Italian media have reported that a new five-year deal is being prepared by the club in order to secure his long-term future.
Twenty-one-year-old Bastoni has an old head on young shoulders and recently made his senior Italy debut against Estonia after being called up from the Under-21s as cover. It would be no surprise should Azzurri coach Roberto Mancini consider the talented Atalanta youth product a future fixture in his exciting side, with every chance of selection for the upcoming Euros.
Eighth-round opponents Torino have also shown signs of addressing their defensive issues and belatedly picked up their first home point of the season last time out. It was yet another under-par performance though - this time against promoted Crotone - as both Andrea Belotti and Amer Gojak were denied by the woodwork in a 0-0 draw.
Just days before, the Granata had finally registered a first win of the season in a rescheduled away fixture with fellow strugglers Genoa, providing some rare relief for under-fire manager Marco Giampaolo, whose record has been underwhelming to say the least. Lying fourth from bottom with just five points, Torino have paid the penalty for a sluggish start to the campaign.
Tellingly, Giampaolo's side have scored six goals in the first 30 minutes of action in Serie A games this season (a joint-high alongside Atalanta) but they have dropped the most points from winning positions - a whopping 11 - in the top five European Leagues this season. It is a recurring theme for a defensively porous team, as in 2019-20 only relegated Brescia lost more points than the Granata's 27 after going in front.
There is some hope to be found in their recent record against Sunday's opponents, however. Torino have lost only three of their last eight away league games against Inter, winning two, and during this period only Juventus and Roma have recorded fewer defeats at the Nerazzurri's formidable San Siro fortress.
Their main man 'El Gallo' Belotti has drawn consecutive blanks after starting with six quickfire Serie A strikes and will once more shoulder the goalscoring burden in Milan. The 'Rooster' will need to return from Italy duty on top of his game if his struggling side are to get anything from this most challenging of assignments.
Inter Milan Serie A form: WDLWDD
Inter Milan form (all competitions): DWDDLD
Torino Serie A form: LLDLWD
Torino form (all competitions): LDWLWD
In Kolarov's absence, new Azzurri star Alessandro Bastoni should form the Inter back three with Milan Skriniar and Stefan de Vrij, though Danilo D'Ambrosio or Andrea Ranocchia are also available options.
The rest of Conte's selection will depend on his approach to the upcoming Champions League mega-match with Real Madrid in midweek. Two from four of Achraf Hakimi, Ivan Perisic and the more defensively-minded Matteo Darmian and Ashley Young will get the nod at wing-back in a familiar 3-5-2, before being benched for the clash of the European super clubs.
Marco Giampaolo has most of his squad fit and ready for one of their toughest trips of the season. Armando Izzo is expected to return from a knee bruise, though long-term absentee Daniele Baselli will not be back from his ACL injury for at least another fortnight.
In-form Serbia star Sasa Lukic should be deployed in support of Torino's star striker Belotti and Simone Verdi, while Bosnia's Amer Gojak, who impressed on international duty, could also start if Lukic is selected in a more conventional midfield role.
Inter Milan possible starting lineup:
Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Darmian, Barella, Gagliardini, Vidal, Young; Lukaku, Martinez
Torino possible starting lineup:
Sirigu; Vojvoda, Bremer, Nkoulou, Rodriguez; Meite, Rincon, Linetty; Lukic; Belotti, Verdi
We say: Inter Milan 3-1 Torino
On the horizon, Inter have an imminent clash of galactic proportions - with Real Madrid on their way to San Siro next Wednesday - and in the rear-view mirror is a jam-packed international period with their players flung far and wide across the globe.
Nonetheless, their impressive squad depth and improving defensive record should help make light work of under-performing Torino, for whom coach Marco Giampaolo is on borrowed time.