Doctor explains Thiago’s injury situation and estimates a return date

Thiago Alcantara’s condition has remained somewhat of a mystery since he was injured in the Merseyside derby, but a physiotherapist has provided some insight into why his return to action is taking so long.

Liverpool’s injury list seems to be continually growing, with over £300 million worth of talent currently unavailable to Jurgen Klopp and his staff. Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez have been confirmed to be recovering from long-term injuries that will more than likely claim their seasons, but Liverpool have also had to deal with a constant stream of smaller tears, sprains, and muscular pulls.

The Merseyside derby saw Van Dijk take to the field for the final time for months, but Thiago Alcantara was also injured after a red-card-producing horror tackle from Richarlison. Liverpool’s new number 6 continued on in the game, but was later found to have picked up a seemingly small injury which would rule him out for the following game…

6 weeks later, the Spaniard is still nowhere to be seen. Every journalist connected to the club has tried and failed to obtain an estimated return date from Jurgen Klopp during Liverpool’s press conferences, with the manager wishing to remain tight-lipped, perhaps through a lack of information available to himself. The furthest Jurgen has been willing to estimate is that it could take a “few more weeks” for Thiago to recover.

Dr Rajpal Brarh is a Doctor of Physical Therapy at 3CB Performance in LA, and specialises in injury prevention & rehab, stress management, athletic development, and sports performance. 

Dr Brarh’s YouTube channel details the specifics of football injuries, and provides context for fans to let people know when to expect their players to return. In a recent video, he discusses Thiago’s knee injury, and provides estimates regarding a potential return date.

“This sounds like the profile of three different things.” Said Dr Brarh.

“Firstly, is that imaging isn’t always 100% accurate. So the original diagnosis, we don’t know exactly what it was, but very likely a mild ligament tear, most likely of the LCL based on how Thiago was injured, that may have actually been worse than the diagnosed grade one.”

“Secondly, there’s also this phenomenon when you have a grade one ligament injury, that the body almost doesn’t take it seriously. And it doesn’t use an all hands on deck approach, which leads to a longer timeline for pain and therefore affects function.”

“Thirdly, I believe this to be most likely is that it’s certainly possible that Thiago has what’s also called a bone bruise or micro trabecular fracture, and these are quite common direct impact injuries and the hard part with these is that they have a high variance in terms of how long they take to heal and also how much pain they’re causing.”

“And that’s why you might be seeing these fluctuations where the team thinks Thiago may come back. But then he increases the intensity, he ramps up then has pain and then they have to kind of back him off a little bit.”