Liverpool have opted not to risk Steven Gerrard in their pre-season friendlies in the Far East as the midfielder continues his rehabilitation from a groin operation.
However, other players at the club appear to have been deemed far from indispensable with forward Milan Jovanovic claiming he has been told he has been given permission to find a new club after a disappointing 12 months at Anfield.
News of Gerrard's withdrawal from the tour to China, where the team play Guangdong next Wednesday, and Kuala Lumpur, where they face a Malaysia XI on July 16 before hosting a training session in Singapore the following evening, will not come as a |surprise.
Having seen his season ended prematurely by surgery in March to fix a nagging groin problem which had dogged him for several months, there was little point in risking Gerrard for what is effectively a public relations exercise.
Most of the squad returned to training yesterday, but Gerrard was kept apart from the main group as he carries out a personal programme of rehabilitation.
And the 31-year-old will continue that work during the time his team-mates, who fly out on Sunday, are away.
“I'd really been looking forward to travelling out to China, Malaysia and Singapore,” said the England midfielder.
“But after sitting down and talking with the medical experts and technical staff, it's been decided that the best course of action is for me to continue my rehabilitation programme at Melwood.
“It's disappointing I won't be with them, but I'm sure the lads who go out there will put a great show on for our fans.”
Manager Kenny Dalglish said there was no point taking any chances by flying his captain out to Asia. He added: “I'm sure there will be supporters disappointed that Steven is unable to be with us in Asia, but I'm sure the same people will appreciate the importance of Steven giving himself the best possible opportunity of being fit to play against Sunderland on the opening day of the new |campaign.”