Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has ruled himself out of Saturday's Premier League clash with Manchester United.
Liverpool skipper still recovering from surgery
Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has ruled himself out of Saturday's Premier League clash with Manchester United, live on Sky Sports 1 and HD1
The talismanic midfielder is recovering from a double groin operation which forced him to withdraw from Fabio Capello's squad for England's World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Croatia.
Having played through the pain barrier as Rafa Benitez's side scraped into the UEFA Champions League group stages with a hard-fought victory over Standard Liege, Gerrard is eager to be 100 per cent fit when he returns.
With star striker Fernando Torres also a major doubt for the Anfield encounter after suffering a hamstring injury against Aston Villa, Benitez could be without two of his key men.
Gerrard told the Liverpool Daily Post
: "The United game is too soon.
"I've a decent chance for the Champions League game in Marseille (on 16th September) but I've spoken to the manager and told him I'd like to do a certain amount of training before I come back.
"I don't want to go into a big game only having had one session with the boys."
There has been criticism from some quarters over the timing of Gerrard's decision, given the impact on the England team, but he is adamant there was no other option as he was in such severe pain.
He said: "The decision about surgery was taken after our game against Standard Liege. I had a meeting with the club doctor on the day of the game and said the discomfort was getting to the stage where I couldn't continue.
"I'd had to double, then treble, my dose of painkillers to train and play, and I was having to take them during games. You get to the stage where you can't grind it out any longer. I told the doctor, 'I can't find my level, I can't get to 100 per cent because I'm missing training sessions and I don't feel right in games. I don't feel I can go to the max'.
"I couldn't sprint flat out, couldn't pass more than 30 yards and couldn't shoot properly and, as much as you want to be out there for every game, it is important to be right.
"There are times when you have got to forget about England and Liverpool and get yourself right. I had a good rest in the summer and felt great when I came back. Then, as soon as I went into training, the groin started niggling.
"One day it would be the right, then the left, and over a month's pre-season, it started to be a real worry.
"I strained both sides, which is a separate injury from the main groin problem I've got. The strains came about because I was training and playing differently to reduce the pain further up the pelvic bone."