LIVERPOOL will finish the season without captain Steven Gerrard after deciding to bring forward the midfielder's shoulder operation.
The 32-year-old has been dogged by the problem all season, although it has not prevented him equalling his best run of consecutive league starts (36) – set six years ago.
The decision to send Gerrard for surgery, most likely tomorrow to give him plenty of time to recover for the club's pre-season programme, is indicative of the state of Liverpool's disappointing campaign.
Brendan Rodgers' side have nothing to fight for in their final two matches as Europe is out of reach and they are likely to finish seventh in the Premier League.
That made it more acceptable to play their final two matches, at Fulham and at home to QPR, without Gerrard – who will also be unavailable for England's two friendlies against the Republic of Ireland at Wembley on May 29 and Brazil on June 2. Gerrard has missed just 17 minutes of the entire league season so far.