Liverpool have confirmed that Steven Gerrard will miss the remainder of the season having brought forward an operation on the player's persistent shoulder injury.
The Liverpool captain was scheduled to have surgery on the problem at the end of the campaign, forcing him to miss England's high-profile friendly against Brazil in Rio de Janeiro on 2 June plus the Republic of Ireland's visit to Wembley on 29 May.
However, the injury has worsened in recent weeks and with Liverpool's season petering out towards a seventh place finish, it has been decided the England captain should undergo surgery this week.
Gerrard faces between six and eight weeks out following the operation and could have missed the start of pre-season training at the beginning of July had Liverpool waited until after the campaign's final game at home to Queens Park Rangers on 19 May. This way he will miss the trip to Fulham and QPR, plus a friendly against Ajax Cape Town in South Africa on 21 May, for which Liverpool are receiving a £1m appearance fee, but will be available for a full pre-season programme.
Gerrard has cited his new training regime as allowing him to start every Premier League game for Liverpool this season.
A club statement read: "Liverpool have confirmed Steven Gerrard will undergo surgery on a recurrent shoulder problem this week. The captain's injury has progressively worsened in recent weeks and requires an operation to cure it. Gerrard will now miss the final two games of 2012-13, but he is expected to be fit for the start of pre-season training this summer."