Rangers rocked by fresh Tom Lawrence blow as Giovanni van Bronckhorst makes early call on key position

Rangers have been rocked an injury blow ahead of their Champions League tie against Liverpool with the news that midfielder Tom Lawrence has suffered a setback in his recovery from a knee injury and may not return until mid-December at the earliest.

The Welsh internationalist started his Ibrox career brightly following a summer free-transfer move from Derby County, but picked up a knock in the closing stages of a victory over Ross County in August and has not been seen since.

His manager, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, has revealed that Lawrence has since sustained a new injury and delivered a gloomy prognosis on when the 28-year-old will be back in action.

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"Tom Lawrence's recovery went on schedule but he sustained a new injury this week,” said Van Bronckhorst, speaking at his pre-match press conference from Anfield.

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst is preparing his team to face Liverpool.Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst is preparing his team to face Liverpool.
Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst is preparing his team to face Liverpool.

"We have to wait to see how long he'll be out but it will be longer term. Probably more months than weeks. I don't think we'll have him back before the World Cup."

Ahead of facing Liverpool on Tuesday night, the Dutchman confirmed that only long-term injury victims Ianis Hagi, Filip Helander, John Souttar and Lawrence are missing from the squad used in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Hearts for fitness reasons, although defender James Sands is unavailable due to a ban for his red card against Napoli. “James Sands misses out due to suspension but we have the same team available as Saturday,” said Van Bronckhorst.

The manager also stated that Allan McGregor will stay in goal against last season’s runners-up. “[In terms of the goalkeeper] I don't like to talk about No 1 and No 2. I didn't do that when Jon started the season. The performances Allan has had have been very good so he will continue tomorrow night.”

On the match itself, Van Bronckhorst expects a stern test against Liverpool despite their recent dip domestically.

“They [Liverpool] are a good team so it will be difficult – they are one of the best teams in Europe,” continued Van Bronckhorst.

“It is a huge stage for us to perform on – for the club and the players. Liverpool are a quality side so it will be a historic match for both teams.

“Liverpool have quality players and a fantastic coach so we are preparing for the best side we can face tomorrow.

“It is a huge step up in competition but we are ready to embrace the challenge – it is a difficult place to come but we are coming here with belief.”