By Jack Heale: "I am currently studying Journalism at the University of Salford and working as a freelance football writer for various outlets, including The FA Young Reporters’ Club, with the ambition of becoming a fully qualified sports journalist."
It will have felt like a mere distraction from regular proceedings for Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool lifted the FA Youth Cup following their penalty shootout win over Manchester City, after a 1-1 draw after extra time.
Guardiola watched on from his office situated above the Academy Stadium as Gareth Taylor’s young Blues dominated the ball and built from the back, hugely reminiscent of how his senior side does so.
Nabil Touaizi opened the scoring just before half time as he converted Adrian Bernabe’s low cross, but that was cancelled out just minutes from time when Bobby Duncan’s swerving effort from distance deceived Louie Moulden and found its way to the back of the net to equalise for Barry Lewtas's team.
Although Klopp couldn't make it to the Academy Stadium as his side face Huddersfield Town in the Premier League on Friday evening, he will be delighted that the young Reds went on to hold firm in extra-time, despite waves of attacks from City, and still managed to create some chances themselves.
In the eventual shootout, Cole Palmer was unlucky to strike the bar with City’s second effort and five spot kicks later, Paul Glatzel notched the winning effort as Liverpool won 5-3 on penalties.
It's a game of fine margins and that was definitely the case as small errors and missed chances can prove costly in a game of such magnitude. That applies for not only the FA Youth Cup Final but also the Premier League title that City and Liverpool are both vying for.
Although youth football should prioritise development rather than trophies, with success coming as a by-product of development, it is that success which keeps them hungry for more and that's exactly the mentality required when entering a first-team dressing room.
As there are just three games left of the domestic campaign for both City and Liverpool's senior teams, with one point separating the sides at the top, that ruthless mentality will be needed by both sets of players until the very end, as it has all season so far.
Both teams encounter particularly tough games in the coming weeks and everything they have learnt and all the experience they gained as both a youth and professional footballer will be put to the test.
Whether the Premier League ends up back in Manchester or on Merseyside remains to be seen, but with Liverpool U18s winning the Youth Cup for the first time since 2007, it will benefit the feel-good factor around Anfield during the most testing stage of the season as they hope to show the first team how it's done.