City Ties Liverpool, Well Aware That One Point May Be Plenty

In a Premier League season of the finest margins, four goals add to the drama but don’t change the title math for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City

MANCHESTER, England — 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

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