Pep Guardiola explained that Manchester City successfully shut down Sunday's contest at Liverpool in order to avoid playing a side he considers the best counter-attacking team in the world at their own game. "It was really intense and both showed respect for the other team", he said.
Now the big "what if?" that the fans and the football media would be discussing is should Gabriel Jesus taken that penalty instead and be the hero for the Blue side of Manchester?
Hailing City's defensive performance, Guardiola added: "I'm so comfortable with the performance we have done". Sterling's experience gave him the edge at times, but Gomez stuck to his task; if he made a mistake, he was able to rectify it nearly instantly.
"I would not like to speak about the referees, about the decisions", Guardiola said.
And the England right-back stayed loyal with his City teammate ahead of the big clash with Liverpool at Anfield later on today.
He said: "It feels much easier to say it was a penalty when he didn't score but I saw it". We used the ball better.
That incident brought late drama, but after the thrills of the four meetings last season, this was something of an anti-climax.
But for the most part this was a game the fascination of which lay in how it defied expectation, two managers noted for their cavalier outlook adopting more pragmatic approaches and contriving to neuter both their opponents and themselves. We played so well so if you want to analyse the result it was OK. They are so good.
"As it is it's great progress from last season, we competed against them, they're a top team". Mahrez beckoned him away, as if to say "Trust me", but he must have known that his record from 12 yards did not inspire such confidence.
"We had the ball a lot today but we had to be ideal in defending". They now sit level at the top of table, with Chelsea, on 20 points after eight games of the season. "Liverpool were an excellent team last season and since then they have bought some more incredible players to fight against us". More fundamentally, the Egyptian has lost his touch in front of goal. That was really important to see it agains, to adjust a few things.
But for an ankle injury which required surgery last season, Gomez would nearly certainly have claimed a place in England's World Cup squad, so highly is he rated by manager Gareth Southgate.