Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has been ruled out until September after being admitted to hospital with an infection related to his troublesome groin injury.
Gerrard had been undergoing rehabilitation from groin surgery that ended his season in mid-March but manager Kenny Dalglish had expected him to be back for the start of the new campaign.
However, a statement on the club's website revealed he will not be available until the following month.
"Steven Gerrard has begun a course of antibiotic treatment for an infection related to an ongoing groin problem,'' it said.
The club statement continued: "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 programme and is expected to be available for selection in September.''
The England midfielder, who sat out the club's brief tour of the Far East this summer, will therefore miss Liverpool's Barclays Premier League fixtures against Sunderland, Arsenal and Bolton, with the trip to Stoke on September 10 a likely target for his return.
Gerrard was already set to miss the international friendly with Holland on August 10 but will now also be a doubt for England's Euro 2012 qualifiers at Bulgaria on September 2 and the home clash with Wales four days later.