Liverpool striker Fernando Torres faces a race against time to be fit for Spain's opening match at next month's World Cup, according to the club's new head of sports medicine and sports science, Peter Brukner.
The 26-year-old's recovery from a second operation in three months to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee is going well but the club do not want to rush his rehabilitation as it is key he is fully fit for the start of next season.
With the European champions' World Cup campaign just over a month away Brukner accepts a balance has to be struck, but he admitted: "Whether he (Torres) will be fit for the first game (on June 16) or not is uncertain."
Brukner, who will head to South Africa with Australia before returning to take up a permanent role at the club's Melwood training ground, added on Liverpool's official website: "He's doing well and he's certainly tremendously committed to his rehab, as are the staff here, and if anyone can recover from an injury, he can.
"You can't be absolutely certain of anything but at this stage, if he continues to progress the way he is, he should be fit to play at some stage during the World Cup.
"We're anxious not to hurry him along too much because we want the long-term benefit, but we're aware he's got the short-term goal of playing in the World Cup.
"Hopefully we can get a compromise between those two where he plays in the World Cup and he's fit and well for Liverpool next season."