Steven Gerrard has ruled out both Kemar Roofe and James Tavernier from the second leg of the Europa tie against Antwerp on Thursday.

However, he is optimistic that the two key players will return to first-team action sooner rather than later.

Roofe and Tavernier both picked up injuries that forced them to be substituted against Royal Antwerp on Thursday.

The captain has been injury-free this season but Roofe’s calf issue is thought to have flared up again, with the forward first having trouble with it against Celtic last month.

As quoted by the Scottish Sun, Gerrard said, “James Tavernier and Kemar Roofe will miss the next couple of weeks at least.

“It’s difficult to put an exact date on their return but all being well we should see them in two to three weeks.”

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Blow for Antwerp

This is a major blow in the short-term but there is light at the end of the tunnel and that’s good news for the Round of 16 on.

It would also be great to have them playing when we secure the title, which could come after the next three games.

Tavernier in particular deserves to be on the pitch when that happens.

Both will miss the visit of Antwerp on Thursday but we should progress in the Europa League, and we are hopeful they will feature in the next round.

We have proved more than capable in their absence, however, with Joe Aribo leading the way in attack on Sunday and Ryan Kent scoring a valuable goal after replacing Roofe on Thursday.

Leon Balogun also put in a spectacular performance against Dundee United.

He was resolute at the back and even made five successful dribbles and four key passes going forward (WhoScored) – he really resembled Tavernier.

Hopefully, that means Stevie G will not rush either of them back too quickly, so they will be fully recovered when they do return to action.

In other Rangers news, Ibrox view: 88% ground duels won – Rangers int’l solves key Gerrard issue with 4 key passes.

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