For Liverpool, it was a game too far. Or rather, a party too far.
Whichever way you looked at it, Jurgen Klopp’s side were off the pace in this game, and even Gary Neville rather cheekily suggested they had celebrated just a little too enthusiastically after winning the league last Thursday.
Every pass was short, even run was short, every attempt at control was short. Which was fitting, because Liverpool fell woefully short despite a promise to the contrary from their manager.
In his pre-match press-conference Klopp had said his side had no guarantee of victory – no understatement there – but he would guarantee they would be ready and desperate to take on Manchester City.
The only thing they took on, was a competition to see who could pass most often to the opposition. In the first half especially, the ball was pinged to a blue shirt almost incessantly. You wondered briefly if they had all fallen out at their party a week ago.
Of course, Liverpool have every right to take their foot off the gas after an incredible season. They have rewritten how a title is won – a record in securing the Premier League trophy with seven matches still remaining.
If they were a little lethargic, a little slow in the tackle, a little wonky in the pass, then it really didn’t matter. Except for Klopp.
He was furious on the touchline, swearing viciously at one point when yet another pass went awry. When Trent Alexander-Arnold took a free kick instead of Mo Salah, he went ballistic, for fully a minute.
He looked like a drunk picking a fight with an empty room, but there was good reason behind his anger. This season is done, but next season starts in barely a few weeks,
The Liverpool manager has already suggested his side must treat this as an extended season, the two merging into each other. Which is why he insisted there could be no let up, party or not.
And this defeat hands an initiative to City for next season – when you just know they will come back stronger, more hungry – ready for the challenge.
Klopp doesn’t want to concede an inch in what will be an epic battle between the two best teams in English football – quite possibly the two best teams in Europe.
Yet here, Liverpool gave a mile to their opponents, and that is a liberty they should never allow, because City hardly need any encouragement.
One moment summed this up, when Alexander-Arnold took a throw in, in his own half and lobbed it straight to Jesus who should have scored to make it even more embarrassing.
It was horrible from Liverpool. They had an excuse and their fans will forgive them. But not Klopp.