Midway through the second half, as the game on which a season hung started to build in a nerve-shredding, pulse-straining crescendo
Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold found himself waiting to take a throw-in within a couple of feet of Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager.
Ordinarily, in these circumstances, the conventions of rivalry dictate that the two adversaries must studiously ignore each other’s presence.
The manager offers instruction to someone standing in the opposite direction. The player averts his gaze, lest acknowledgment be mistaken for treachery.
Guardiola, though, has little truck with convention. With Sunday’s game paused for an injury, he sidled over to Alexander-Arnold, draped his arm over
his shoulder and initiated what can only be described as a chat. He was, as he always is, somewhere between animated and agitated, but there was a broad grin on his face
genuine affection in his gestures. It was unmistakable: In the game with everything on the line, Guardiola was enjoying himself.
That should not, really, be surprising. The meeting of indisputably the best and second-best teams in England — order yet to be determined — and most likely the best and second-best teams on the planet
had produced an abundance of things to enjoy. The goals, of course: four of them evenly shared in a 2-2 tie, each of them brilliantly conceived and surgically executed. And the chances