Manager Jurgen Klopp says his Liverpool players are “on fire to strike back” as the defending Premier League champions aim to end their recent slump.

The Reds are winless in their past five league games since a 7-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace on 19 December.

Klopp’s side won the league by 18 points last season but are seven points behind leaders Manchester City at the halfway stage of their title defence.

“We want to be the team nobody wants to play against,” said Klopp.

“People told us we were the best team in the world. We weren’t, but that’s not a problem. We could beat the best team in the world and we still can, but we want to prove that on the pitch and we will.

He added: “We are on fire to strike back. The more negative things that are thought about us and said about us, the more we want it.”

Liverpool have won once in their past seven games in all competitions – their sole victory in that time coming against a very Covid-depleted Aston Villa – and were knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United on Sunday.

They will look to end a run of three league matches without a goal when they travel to a Tottenham side one place and one point below them on Thursday (20:00 GMT).

“The situation is a challenge and a challenge is good, that’s fine with me. I’m not at a point in my life where I think everything should be perfect,” Klopp said.

“If something is wrong then we work at it and that’s what we’re doing.

“We will give our absolute everything this season. It’s not about defending the title, it’s about winning football games. It was always about this.”

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