England captain Steven Gerrard is expected to undergo a shoulder operation this summer that will see him sidelined for high-profile international friendlies against Ireland and Brazil.
Gerrard will continue to play for Liverpool in their final four games of the season but has been pencilled in for keyhole surgery in May in a bid to cure a long-standing problem.
"It's looking more and more likely that he might require surgery," first-team coach Mike Marsh told Liverpool's official website. "He has been playing with a shoulder injury for quite a while now. We'll try to find the right time for him to get it fixed properly.
"It's not ideal timing, it's going to take quite a while for him to heal. It's a funny injury - it's pretty similar to Joe Allen. If it needs repairing, it needs repairing and when he's back fit, he's back fit. There's not much we can do about it."
The rehabilitation period is estimated at eight weeks, meaning Gerrard will be unavailable for the match against Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland on May 29, or the trip to Rio de Janeiro on June 2.
However the 32-year-old midfielder, who has remarkably played in every minute of Liverpool's Premier League campaign, is expected to be fit for the start of pre-season training.
England's World Cup qualifying campaign resumes in September, with the Three Lions taking on Moldova and Ukraine, before crunch fixtures against Montenegro and Poland in October will determine if they reach the 2014 finals in Brazil.