Liverpool and Manchester City are running magnificently, but on fumes | Jonathan Liew

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Exhaustion rather than elation or despair was the end result of an FA Cup tie between two teams pushed to breaking point

Everyone looks tired. Liverpool counterattack in the closing minutes and Trent Alexander-Arnold (41 games for club and country this season) can barely puff his way over the halfway line. In stoppage time, Riyad Mahrez (45 games) runs at Andy Robertson (46 games), who tries and forlornly fails to keep pace with him. Bernardo Silva (49 games) looks exhausted as he scores Manchester City’s second goal. On the touchline a world-weary Pep Guardiola – who has barely left his bench all half – grimaces as if suddenly contemplating the solemn and unappetising prospect of extra time.

Even as the final whistle arrives to seal Liverpool’s triumph, there is no great celebration, no great delight, and no great anguish either. John Stones and Phil Foden sink to their knees. Liverpool’s players gather each other into pained embraces: partly in satisfaction, partly in relief and partly just to hold each other up. Gingerly and groggily, both teams acknowledge their fans and trudge down the tunnel. An ice bath, a protein pot, a bus ride, a charter flight, and then bed. There’s training in the morning. Manchester United come to Anfield on Tuesday and Brighton to the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday. We move.

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Written by Jonathan Liew at Wembley
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