Asked if the battle is a one-on-one affair between the Merseyside rivals, Benitez told liverpoolfc.tv: "It seems like it now, but Aston Villa also have a lot of confidence and Blackburn won the other day away from home. You never know, but maybe you can say that Liverpool, Everton and Aston Villa will be close.
"(The derby) it could be really important, but it depends on the other games before then. We'll have to wait and see the position both teams are in before the game but clearly it will be an important game."
Asked if he believed Moyes was playing mind games when insisting Liverpool remained favourites, Benitez was adamant: "Yes."