- Premier League
Gerrard targeting pre-season return
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has vowed that he will be fully fit for the new campaign after shoulder surgery ended his season early.
Gerrard has been playing on with a shoulder problem sustained during the 3-2 FA Cup fourth-round defeat at Oldham on January 27.
He has started all 36 of Liverpool's Premier League matches this season, and manager Brendan Rodgers had hoped to be able to delay an operation until the summer.
However, the problem has worsened in recent weeks, and the club decided to send the midfielder for surgery early, ruling him out of Sunday's trip to Fulham and the home match against QPR on May 19.
He will also miss England's next two friendlies, against the Republic of Ireland on May 29 and Brazil on June 2.
Gerrard, though, insists he will be ready for the start of pre-season training in July.
"Between the medical staff and myself, we've decided the best decision is to get it done now so I am ready for pre-season training," the 32-year-old told Liverpool's official website.
"I'm very disappointed to miss the last two games, but it's a stage now where it's probably better if another player plays because he'll be able to offer more because the shoulder is quite sore.
"I first got the injury against Oldham in the FA Cup when I came on as a sub and I've since aggravated it on numerous occasions. The medical team and staff have been brilliant. They've helped me a lot and put a lot of hard work into getting me out there on to the pitch.
"I've felt my form has been good this season. I think I got off to a slow start after Euro 2012 but got stronger as the season went on. I've enjoyed the season, although it is disappointing to leave it empty-handed."