Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard says he is confident about being back in time for pre-season - but admits not playing is a painful experience.
Gerrard, 30, had surgery on a troublesome groin injury in March.
"For the first time in a while, I'm feeling confident about my groin," he said. "But being injured is killing me.
"The manager and everyone else do their best to make you feel part of it. But, unless you are out there starting every week, it doesn't quite feel the same."
Gerrard, who has 89 England caps, had initially hoped to return to action before the end of this season, but earlier this month he was ruled out for the rest of the campaign by manager Kenny Dalglish after suffering a setback.
Liverpool are desperate to help him resolve a problem which hampered him for several months before his operation, and has also been a problem in previous years, and hope that the extra rest will enable him to be fully fit for next season.
"Fingers crossed, I'll be there on the first day of pre-season [in late June/early July]," Gerrard wrote in the programme notes for
Liverpool's Premier League match against Newcastle at Anfield
The central midfielder last played for Liverpool on 6 March during the 3-1 victory over Manchester United.