Louis Van Gaal says Manchester United must learn how to hold on to leads and see out games if they are to achieve their aims in the Premier League this season.
After United blew a two-goal lead and then a 3-2 lead late on to draw at Newcastle United in midweek Van Gaal says his side must learn from how Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea ground out results last year on their way to the title.
Van Gaal said: “We have to be fighting for first position and now we are not fighting for first position when we don’t win at Newcastle in those circumstances.
“When you are in those circumstances you have to control the game. For example Chelsea last year did that – they won with one goal difference – they finished the game then, and a champion has to do that.”
Matteo Darmian, meanwhile, will hope for a more stable performance than his predecessor as he prepares to become the first Italian to represent United in a game at Anfield since Massimo Taibi in 1999.
Taibi actually picked up the man of the match award when he made his debut in the equivalent fixture, but his United career was soon brought to a close after a series of high-profile and calamitous errors from the goalkeeper.
Darmian told MUTV he is relishing the start of his Old Trafford career despite the trying circumstances this season, as he looks to continue building towards potential international glory with Italy in Euro 2016 this summer.
He said: “I’m good and happy to stay here at a big club like Manchester United. I’m happy and I want to continue.
“It’s been a big season for me and hopefully 2016 will be similar for me. Last summer, I signed for a big club in United and, next summer, the European Championship is a big chance for me where we will fight to win it with Italy.”