Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has been ruled out until September due to a groin infection.
The midfielder, 31, had groin surgery that ended his last campaign in April and has now suffered another setback.
Gerrard did not travel with his team-mates on their recent tour of Asia, but despite the cautious treatment from the club, the England international has been hospitalised with an infection.
At least, he will miss the Merseyside club’s first three games of the English Premier League season, against Sunderland, Arsenal and Bolton.
A club statement on Saturday read: “Steven Gerrard today began a course of antibiotic treatment for an infection related to an ongoing groin problem.”
“He is expected to remain in hospital for several days while the precautionary procedure is completed.”
“The player will then return to Melwood to continue his rehabilitation program and is expected to be available for selection in September.”
Gerrard is also unlikely to be fit for England’s Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria (September 2) and Wales (September 6).
Liverpool meet Sunderland at Anfield on August 13 in their first league game of the season.