Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has been ruled out for up to two months after sustaining a broken finger on his left hand in a pre-season friendly against Bayern Munich.
The 38-year-old Netherlands international has undergone surgery on a fractured finger and bone, leaving United boss Sir Alex Ferguson to choose between Ben Foster and Tomasz Kuszczak for the opening weeks of the new campaign.
Meanwhile, Ferguson has written off the chance of Liverpool making another strong challenge for the Premier League title this season.
He told reporters: "Liverpool have just had probably their best season for 20 years, finished up with 86 points and still finished four adrift.
"It will be hard for them to match that, let alone improve. Other teams will read Liverpool better.
"It has to be Chelsea as the main threat. Carlo Ancelotti will change the way Chelsea play. There is plenty of flexibility in what he's got and he should get goals from Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka.
"They will play the Milan way. It brought him two European Cups - it should have been three because they should never have lost to Liverpool (in the 2005 final). So why should he change?"