Pep Guardiola has rejected the idea that games against Liverpool have become more important for City than the Manchester derby.

The Blues have waged a fierce battle against Liverpool at the top of the Premier League over the past two seasons, while United continue to struggle under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

While Solskjaer's side did claim a shock win at the Etihad in the Premier League last month, City reclaimed bragging rights with a dominant display at Old Trafford in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final three weeks ago.

Games between City and Liverpool have become increasingly fractious since the Champions League quarter-final towards the end of the 2017/18 campaign, when the City bus was attacked on its way into Anfield.

The fact that they've since battled it out for Premier League titles has intensified the rivalry, but it hasn't come at the expense of the Manchester derby according to Guardiola.

Asked if those games were now more important than facing United, Guardiola said: "Not especially. Now maybe Liverpool in the last two seasons is the competitor and have been closer but I think I didn’t approach the United games differently to Liverpool, honestly. I try to discover the secrets about the players they have, the systems they use, but not especially."

City's 3-1 win at Old Trafford has given them control of the Carabao Cup semi-final ahead of the return leg, but Guardiola didn't get carried away with the victory.

The Blues boss has called on the Etihad crowd to help in tomorrow night's second leg but insists he will approach the game in the same way.

"I didn’t speak to them [the fans after the game], the reactions in the newspapers I didn’t read much because I had another game a few days later," Guardiola said.

"It was not three points or already qualification. We have another game. I told the players be calm because we created chances for 0-4, 0-5 but after the game was still open.

"We have the quality to do that, just relax. The more important [thing] is to be calm and to focus on what we have to do. I don’t think these kind of games is just to win for energy or we have to win because it’s a derby.

"You don't win these kind of games in that way. Our people are going to help us. They know in the bad moments to go there, to win the games and what exactly we have to do. It depends on the set-up they play, the way we play, the quality of the players we have. That’s the only way. It’s happened in the past at other clubs I've been. Always I approach these games in this way."