By Alex Stevens

Emre Can has blamed his lack of match fitness on his underwhelming performance against Manchester United on Monday.

The central midfielder started his first Premier League match of the season after injuries to Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum forced manager Jurgen Klopp to tinker with his starting XI.

Can lined up in central midfield alongside Jordan Henderson and looked rusty in the opening 45 minutes of the 0-0 draw at Anfield.

The Germany international grew into the match after the break and came close to breaking the deadlock in the second half only to be denied by an excellent David de Gea save.

It’s been a frustrating spell for Can, who was sidelined for a month after picking up an ankle injury in the League Cup tie at Burton.

“That was my first 90 minutes for five months so I am very happy I started,” the Germany international said, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo. “I need to get my fitness and confidence back.

“I played last year as the No 6, now I play as the No 8 and can go a bit further forward. My target is to score more goals and give more assists.

“We trained for four or five days all together after the internationals so we were fit and ready for the game. We just couldn’t find a way through.”

Liverpool fans on Twitter were unimpressed with Can’s display and claimed it was in stark contrast to the zip and thrust that Lallana or Wijnaldum would have offered.

In other Liverpool news, Ronaldo has named the player in Klopp’s team that he wants to join Real Madrid.