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Gerrard to be back for pre-season

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has said he will be fully fit for the start of next season after shoulder surgery ended his campaign early.

Gerrard has been playing on with a shoulder problem suffered 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 have decided to send the midfielder for surgery early, ruling him out of Sunday's trip to Fulham and the home match against Queens Park Rangers on May 19.

Gerrard will also miss England's next two friendlies, against Ireland on May 29 and Brazil on June 2. The player, though, insists he will be ready for the start of pre-season training in July.

The 32-year-old told the club's official website: "Between the medical staff and myself, we've decided the best decision is to get it [the surgery] done now so I am ready for pre-season training.

"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."

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