Liverpool could be without Luis Suárez on their pre-season tour of Australia and Thailand this summer as Brendan Rodgers attempts to avoid burnout in his leading striker.
The Uruguay international has missed only one Premier League game this season, making 43 appearances so far, and will begin preparations for the Confederations Cup once the campaign ends. The eight-team tournament starts in Brazil on 15 June, with the final and third-place play-off on 30 June, leaving Suárez little recuperation time before next season should Uruguay progress.
Liverpool play A-League side Melbourne Victory on 24 July and have a friendly in Bangkok four days later. A third game on the pre-season tour has yet to be confirmed. Suárez could be given four weeks off in the summer, so would miss the tour should it start after the final day of the Confederations Cup.
Rodgers has given the Premier League's leading goalscorer short breaks this season to reduce the risk of fatigue. The manager admits an extended holiday for Suárez is a priority after a campaign in which he carried the Liverpool attack almost single-handed until the arrival of Daniel Sturridge in January.
Rodgers said: "We are finalising all their dates and when they're away. They will need blocks of rest. If Luis is playing in that tournament, he may not be back at the start of pre-season for us because he needs to have a recovery period. There will be an individual pattern for every player. The idea is to get everyone back in the summer as soon as possible to have a real push next year."
Suárez is not the only Liverpool player facing an extended season due to the Confederations Cup in Brazil. Pepe Reina, Philippe Coutinho, Lucas Leiva, Sebastián Coates and Fabio Borini could also be involved in a tournament featuring the hosts plus Spain, Uruguay, Italy, Mexico, Japan, Nigeria and Tahiti.
The Liverpool striker will spend the summer as a transfer target for several leading European clubs but the club's managing director, Ian Ayre, has reiterated that Suárez is not for sale.
Ayre insisted: "To play at the highest level, you need players like Luis and Steven Gerrard on your team. So the last thing in our mind is selling Luis Suárez. He's not for sale. It's not something we're interested in."
Liverpool will hold a minute's silence before Sunday's game against Chelsea in memory of Anne Williams, the Hillsborough campaigner, who died on Thursday, and for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.