Liverpool striker Fernando Torres requires surgery on his problem knee and will miss the rest of the season, a club spokesman announced on Sunday.
The operation, due to take place in Spain later Sunday, will rule the 26-year-old Spanish international out of action for around six weeks, not leaving him much time to be fit for the start of the FIFA World Cup on 11 June. Spain manager Vicente del Bosque must submit his final 23-man squad for South Africa on 1 June with the European champions' opening game against Switzerland on 16 June.
Torres will miss not only the Premier League run in but also the remainder of Liverpool's Europa League campaign, which continues this week with a semi-final against Torres' former club Atletico Madrid.
A Liverpool spokesman told the club's official website: "Fernando saw a specialist in Spain earlier today [Sunday] and it was decided that he would need surgery on a torn cartilage in his right knee. This will be carried out later tonight. We cannot comment ahead of the operation, but as a guide, the usual rehabilitation period for this type of procedure is around six weeks."
Torres, who has scored 22 goals in all competitions this season, missed Liverpool's draw with Fulham last weekend as a result of the problem. This is his second date with the surgeon's knife this season as he had an operation on his knee in January which sidelined him for a month.