(Reuters) - Midfielder Michael Carrick says Liverpool remain bigger rivals to Manchester United than neighbours and Premier League champions Manchester City.
City have become genuine powerhouses in recent years and wrapped up their third Premier League title in seven seasons in April.
United, on the other hand, have gone five years without winning the domestic championship, while Liverpool’s wait for the league title stretches back to 1990.
Yet Carrick, who will play his last league game for United against Watford on Sunday before retirement, said the historical rivalry between English football’s two most successful clubs, makes it a more significant fixture in the United dressing room.
“I think the Liverpool game is special,” Carrick, who joined United in 2006, told ESPN. “I think they’re different games really.
“I think if you’re looking at the City game now... I think the Liverpool game, because of the history and the tradition and everything that goes behind it, it run deeps doesn’t it?
“The City one obviously runs deep as well, but for me, it (Liverpool) has got a slightly different feel.”
City have risen to become one of Europe’s elite clubs since Abu Dhabi billionaire Sheikh Mansour took them over in 2008.
Under manager Pep Guardiola, City have produced a series of dazzling displays and remain on course to become the first English team to reach 100 points in a top-flight season.
“It’s been a big change since I came,” added Carrick.
“We were always favourites to go there and win and obviously, as the years have gone by, they have developed and spent more money and they’ve obviously improved an awful lot.
“Now they’re up there challenging every year, like ourselves, Chelsea and Arsenal.”
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis