Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is to sit out the club’s tour of Asia in order to improve his chances of being fit for the season opener against Sunderland.
The Reds’ 2011-12 Premier League campaign gets under way against the Black Cats on 13th August and early Liverpool v Sunderland betting has made Kenny Dalglish’s side 2/5 favourites to clinch all three points.
However, Dalglish is not willing to put anything to chance and, rather than risk his star midfielder in Liverpool’s eight-day trip to the Far East, he has agreed that Gerrard should stay at the club’s Melwood training ground to continue his recovery from a groin injury picked up last season.
“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,” Dalglish said in a statement.
“Steven continuing his rehabilitation programme at Melwood is in everybody’s long term interests.”
The Reds will visit three countries on the tour, playing games in China and Malaysia and training in Singapore.
In the meantime, Liverpool have told Milan Jovanovic he is free to find a new club and have been linked with a new bid for Charlie Adam as they seek to revamp their squad ahead of an assault on the top four next season.
Odds on Liverpool to qualify for the 2012-13 Champions League are 5/4 with bwin, meaning a successful £25 free bet on the Reds to finish in the top four, available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account, would return £56.25.
New customers can register here to claim a £25 free bet.