Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is likely to be out until at least September as he recovers from a hip operation.
The 25-year-old England international underwent surgery in New York on Tuesday in an attempt to cure a number of related problems with his thigh and calf which have restricted him to just eight Premier League starts this season.
"We anticipate that Daniel will be back, hopefully to train around about September," said manager Brendan Rodgers.
“Obviously it is long period of time out but we hope the problem and issues have been resolved with the operation.
“We hope he is available to train in September and then it is about getting his fitness in.”
Rodgers was asked whether, with the time it would take for Sturridge to get back to proper match fitness, the chances were they were unlikely to see the best of the striker until November.
“It is not just about fitness but football fitness, and that takes a bit of time,” he added.
“The important thing will be to let him recover, work hard in his rehab and we have great support from our owners in that he is able to go to the world’s leading specialists in America.
“He will work very hard to get back fit and the sooner the better for us.
“He has been a big miss to us this season but let’s hope he can get back fit and contribute to the club.
“Once he’s fully fit we know what he can produce and if he is at that level of fitness he can certainly be a key player for us.”
With the likes of Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini set to be offloaded in the summer, Rodgers has to strengthen his forward line.
Anfield appears to be the likely destination of Burnley's out-of-contract Danny Ings but Rodgers has already spoken about the need to bring in an experienced, consistent striker.
Young Belgium international Divock Origi will return from his season-long loan spell at Lille for next season but Rodgers is not looking for him to shoulder the burden.
“Young Divock will be a great asset to us but I am more concerned about getting Daniel back as soon as possible because he is a great talent,” he added.
The Reds boss denied, however, he had missed out on a summer transfer target after Thursday’s news PSV Eindhoven’s Memphis Depay was to join Manchester United.
“It wasn’t something that was ever one we were interested in,” Rodgers said.
"He is a young, talented player but we already have four wingers at the club: Raheem Sterling, Jordon Ibe, Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic.
“We have other priorities we are looking at through the course of the summer but with the players we have in those positions, particularly on the left side, we are quite well stocked.”
Rodgers also said on Friday that Balotelli had returned to training this week after a foot injury and could make the squad for the trip to Chelsea.
Midfielder Lucas Leiva may also be in contention for a start against the champions but defender Mamadou Sakho is still missing with a hamstring injury.
Out of reach
Meanwhile Arsene Wenger insists Theo Walcott will not leave Arsenal this summer even if a new contract is not agreed.
The 26-year-old who had previously been linked to Liverpool is out of contract at the end of next season and negotiations have begun over a new deal.
The Frenchman is optimistic the fact discussions have started means Walcott wishes to stay.
“We are already talking to him,” said Wenger, speaking ahead of Monday’s home clash with Swansea.
“When you go into negotiations with a player it is with a desire for him to stay. He looks keen to do it and I am keen to do it, so let’s see what comes out.
“We are always in the mode where we want to be successful. In case of failure, we’ll see.
“But in case of failure — that will only be in December next year.”
Carl Jenkinson is another player whose future is to be decided after he has impressed on loan at West Ham.
“I met Carl this week to speak about his future. We will sit down together at the end of the season,” Wenger said.
“My target is to keep him here at the club. He had a great season for me and he has moved forward and overall he has gained a lot of confidence.”