Liverpool's midfielder Emre Can has blamed his side's stuttering start to the season on their profligacy in front of goal, rather than on their well-documented defensive frailties.

The Merseysiders go into Saturday's (14 October) lunchtime kick off against Manchester United on the back of just one win in the last seven games in all competitions.

While Liverpool have developed into a potent attacking threat since Jurgen Klopp's arrival, their back four has come under intense criticism for a series of mistakes that have cost the team points.

The Reds have already conceded 12 goals in their first seven Premier League games, as many as Watford, Leicester and Everton, while only West Ham and bottom-of-the-table Crystal Palace have conceded more.

In contrast, only the two Manchester clubs and Tottenham have scored more than Liverpool, but Can believes his side's lack of ruthlessness in front of goal has cost them dearly so far.

"I've read a stat which shows that we had 120 shots in the past seven matches and we only scored seven goals. That's clearly not enough." the Liverpool midfielder told German newspaper SportBild.

"It's case a fact that our defending wasn't good recently and we conceded too many goals. I still believe that if we had scored those goals then we would have those matches and nobody would talk about our defence.

"The coach himself says that we didn't play badly. We dominated our opponents in nearly all of the matches and were the better side. Jurgen Klopp is convinced that we only need that bit of luck to get back to winning ways."

Liverpool will enter the game at the weekend seven points behind United, whom they have not beaten at Anfield in the Premier League since September 2013, when Daniel Sturridge scored the only goal in a 1-0 win.

Their task was made harder on Tuesday (10 October), after the club confirmed Sadio Mane returned from Senegal duty with a hamstring injury which will keep him out for six weeks, a stretch which could see him miss up to nine games.

The forward joins an injury list which already includes Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne, Danny Ings and Adam Bogdan – none of whom have played this season.

Failure to beat United could pile further pressure on Klopp, who has seen his men draw their first two games in the Champions League and knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Leicester after losing 2-0 at the King Power Stadium last month.

However, Can insisted the former Borussia Dortmund manager retained the full support of his team.

"Nobody at Liverpool questions the manager," the Germany international added. "Jurgen Klopp is a top, top manager. As a team, we all want to work with him. Everyone can see the steps we've made with him in the past two years. We play good football and follow his plan."