Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard is likely to require surgery on a shoulder injury this summer, according to Reds first-team coach Mike Marsh.
The 32-year-old, who has featured in every minute of the Reds' 34 Premier League matches so far, has been playing through the problem this season.
"It's looking more and more likely that he might require surgery," Marsh told Liverpoolfc.com. "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."
He added: "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 (who has already had surgery which has ruled him out for the remainder of the campaign).
"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."
If, as expected, he undergoes an operation, Gerrard is likely to miss internationals against the Republic of Ireland at Wembley on May 29 and Brazil in Rio de Janeiro on June 2.
While Gerrard will soldier on until the end of the season there are other players finally returning to fitness. Forward Fabio Borini, who has not played since dislocating a shoulder in February, has been training this week while Raheem Sterling - who has not featured since March 31 - has rejoined the group.
"The long-standing injuries that we've got are on the road back to recovery," Marsh added. "One or two are a little bit closer - Fabio Borini has joined in, Raheem Sterling is now back out on the pitch and Martin Kelly (out since September after cruciate knee ligament surgery) is also outside. We're back to almost a full complement."
Borini has a chance of making the bench for Saturday's match at Newcastle, which will boost the squad after fellow forward Luis Suarez was banned for 10 matches, subject to appeal, for his bite on Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.
"He had the all-clear from the surgeon and joined in during the last couple of days and it's looking really good," Marsh said of the Italian. "He might be included on the bench at the weekend, it might be the week after."