We asked sports fitness expert Dr. Rajpal Brar for his view on Roberto Firmino‘s injury.
Firmino was injured during Thursday’s training session – a session that largely involved low-intensity work such as preparing for set-pieces. He is now a doubt for the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
Not much information has been released – as tends to be the case at the professional level – but Jurgen Klopp did drop some key nuggets when speaking with reporters post-match. Here’s what he had to say:
“Bobby trained yesterday [Thursday] completely normal. It was not high-intensity, we had to work on set-pieces a little bit and here and there a couple of things.
“I didn’t see it in training, because it obviously happened in the last situation, and he felt the muscle a little bit.
“The official diagnosis is he has a small tear in a very small muscle.
“So apart from the word ‘tear’ everything else is positive.
“But it’s Bobby, so he might be ready for Wednesday, but we obviously don’t know in the moment.
“Because it’s him, it’s rather more likely than not. But we will see.
“Of all the bad news you could get it’s pretty much the best, but it’s still bad enough that he couldn’t play tonight.”
There are three key things we can learn from this statement:
1 – The injury was muscular in nature and occurred near the end of a non-high intensity practice.
This clues me in that the root cause was very likely muscle fatigue which led to the muscle becoming mildly overstressed.
This is a very tame mechanism of injury and even if I had no other information, it tells me that it’s likely a mild injury.
However, we do have some other key information!
2 – “Small tear”. The word “tear” sends chills throughout any fanbase but don’t be afraid.
Any muscle strain involves tearing of the muscle as even the mildest of muscle strains involves micro-tearing of the fibres.
The fact that it’s a small tear tells me Firmino very likely has a mild grade 1 strain which means less than 25 per cent of muscle fibres are torn.
3 – “Very small muscle”. This is arguably the most encouraging part of Klopp’s explanation as injuring a smaller muscle compared to larger ones like the hamstrings, quads, or calves is typically a shorter recovery and rehab time because less stress and questions are asked of the smaller muscles compared to those larger, primary movers.
To sum up: Firmino likely has a mild grade 1 strain of a lesser involved muscle that happened due to fatigue during the training session.
The timeline for a grade 1 muscle strain depends on the specific muscle but the way Jurgen was speaking on it, indicators tell me that even though Firmino faces a race for fitness for Wednesday’s game, he shouldn’t have any trouble moving forward after that.