The League Cup has often been placed down the list of priorities for City and United over the years, but with both clubs experiencing difficulties in the Premier League, the competition offers a realistic chance of silverware.
Pep Guardiola’s men retain hopes of UEFA Champions League glory, but Liverpool’s 16-point advantage in the top flight appears to have given the Reds an unassailable lead at the top of the division.
City were ruthless in the first leg, crushing United with three goals in 38 minutes. The Red Devils fought back in the second half, with Marcus Rashford finding the back of the net, but the damage had already been done.
United travel to City without Rashford for the second leg, with the in-form striker likely to miss significant time after sustaining a double stress fracture to his lower back.
According to Ben Pringle of the Daily Express, the 22-year-old should be back before the end of the season, but he has been United’s most influential figure this term and his absence will be felt sharply.
Guardiola has asked City supporters to fill the Etihad for the Manchester derby after seats were empty during Sunday’s 4-0 FA Cup home victory against Fulham.