Soccer Power Rankings: Liverpool-PSG Champions League clash could shake up the top 25
Nobody is playing better than Manchester City -- plus four new teams join the top 25
The fifth matchday of the Champions League group stage takes places on Tuesday and Wednesday, and it's pretty much do-or-die time for many clubs. From contenders to heavy underdogs, the fifth game can make a break their UCL campaign. Teams like Borussia Dortmund, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Porto, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Juventus and a couple others are in great shape entering the day, but there are numerous teams with more on the line.
Here are the three teams with the most on the line in this week's Champions League action, which can be streamed on fuboTV (Try for free).
PSG is in third place in Group C with five points, a point behind first-place Napoli and second-place Liverpool. And while Matchday 5 should result with three points at Red Star Belgrade (though it's not a given -- just ask Liverpool), the outlook for Wednesday is a bit more blurry. PSG hosts a Liverpool team at the French capital that it already lost to at Anfield in the early stages of the group stage. The statuses of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are still unknown. The, and PSG said it would put the players in observation.
All eyes are on whether they train on Monday, two day before the Liverpool clash. PSG manager Thomas Tuchel sounded confident late last week that they would be able to play. Here's what he said on Friday, according to Jonathan Johnson of ESPNFC:
Neither played over the weekend in the 1-0 win over Toulouse, but that was a given considering the injuries. If they play, PSG has a great chance of winning, assuming they are are close to 100 percent. If they can't go, PSG could be in danger of elimination. If Liverpool wins and Napoli beats Red Star, PSG will officially be eliminated from the competition and would likely enter the Europa League after the group stage.
If any team is facing a must-win match, it's Spurs. The club is 1-1-2 and three points back of Inter Milan. And now they get to host the Italian club where a victory will pull them level on points. And having Barcelona in the sixth game could be a positive if Barca has the group nearly wrapped up, as the team could possibly field a weaker squad that would benefit Tottenham. But it all starts here. A draw will pretty much see them eliminated from the competition, knowing that Inter would only need a draw against PSV in the final game to move on.
But don't overlook Spurs getting a result here, as the team is full of confidence coming off of the 3-1 win over Chelsea in Premier League play this past weekend. Tottenham has won five matches in a row and is in its best form of the season.
Manchester United is in a much better situation than PSG and Spurs, and that's because of the monster win at Juventus last time out in UCL. United has seven points and is two points behind first-place Juventus, while also sitting two points above third-place Valencia. United hosts Young Boys, and that's expected to be three pretty easy points. A win there, combined with a potential loss or draw from Valencia at Juventus would be enough for Manchester United to clinch a spot in the knockout stage. But this isn't your ordinary season at Old Trafford. United couldn't score against Crystal Palace in a 0-0 draw last weekend, and if something similar happens here, United could be in trouble with a trip to Mestalla for Matchday 6. Win, and United fans can feel really good about moving on.
How the rankings work
We list the top 25 teams in the world based on recent form. The teams playing the best soccer -- in their respective leagues and in international competitions -- will be considered. Quality of the opponents will also be taken into an account, but above all, the most important factors are recent results and overall standings in competitions.
World Club Soccer Power Rankings
Manchester City (ENG)
|In 13 Premier League games, City has 40 goals and just five conceded for a goal differential of plus-35. That's plus-14 more than any other team in the league. Dominant.|
|Cristiano Ronaldo has scored in consecutive matches, but more importantly, the club hasn't allowed a goal since that debacle against Manchester United.|
|Why does it feel like Liverpool is a bit under the radar? Being in the same league as a dominant City team and sharing a Champions League group with PSG will do that. Huge game in Paris coming up. Win it, and Liverpool will be sitting pretty.|
|Neymar and Kylian Mbappe both missed the league game over the weekend, a 1-0 win over Toulouse, due to injury. If they can't go midweek against Liverpool, their UCL campaign could unravel.|
|A good draw at Wanda Metropolitano but the team hasn't been too sharp. They've lacked creativity over the last couple matches, but it's hardly a concern. Luis Suarez's two-week absence is concerning.|
Borussia Dortmund (GER)
|Make that nine goals in eight games for Paco Alcacer since arriving in Germany. He's been one of the signings of the summer so far.|
|This team hasn't lost since August and continues to grind out results, but it's still too early to confirm them as a Premier League title contender. Facing Tottenham and Manchester United in a four-day span in early December will tell us plenty.|
|Not good to draw Chievo, but this team moves up since so many others lost. Hey, a point is a point.|
Inter Milan (ITA)
|Great bounce-back from the Atalanta loss to crush Frosinone 3-0, but you can expect this team to probably slip soon. Next three games are wicked tough: At Tottenham, at Roma and at Juventus.|
|Undefeated no more. Outclassed by Tottenham and just lacking conviction in attack. But they'll be just fine, just need help at striker.|
|Statement win over Chelsea with Dele Alli and Harry Kane scoring. Facing a must-win match against Inter Milan midweek in the Champions League.|
Atletico Madrid (ESP)
|Really should have done better against Barca. Unbelievably, since Diego Simeone joined Atleti in 2011, 17 La Liga clubs have beaten Barca in league play. Atleti isn't one of them.|
|Backing into this Real Madrid clash. This team's attack is either unstoppable or horrific to watch. There never seems to be a middle ground this season.|
River Plate (ARG)
|Copa Libertadores final against Boca Juniors was postponed to a later date.|
|Champions of the Brazilian League and haven't lost in the league since July. Dominance by Luiz Felipe Scolari's men.|
| Boca Juniors (ARG)|
|Copa Libertadores final against River Plate was postponed to a later date.|
|Five points clear of Ajax and a league record of 13-0-0. Unstoppable and could clinch the title by the spring.|
Cruz Azul (MEX)
|No. 1 seed in the Liga MX playoffs, and defense is the key. This team conceded just 13 goals in 17 matches.|
Bayern Munich (GER)
|When it comes to points, Bayern is closer to 14th place than first place. What in the world is going on? |
|The No. 2 seed in the playoffs behind Cruz Azul. No team in Mexico scored more goals than America's 33 this season. |
|On fire at the moment with Memphis Depay leading the way. Since he left Manchester United, he's scored 33 times in 87 matches for the French club. Boy, could they use him.|
|7 wins in a row and rolling through the competition in Portugal. Same old Porto, and keep an eye on young Brazilian Otavio. He's got the look of another great attacking midfielder at the club.|
|First place in La Liga and really putting together some great results. Roque Mesa has helped bring stability to the midfield after Steven Nzonzi's departure to Roma.|
|Four straight wins, all clean sheets, including over Gremio, Cruzeiro and Santos. Impressive.|
Eintracht Frankfurt (GER)
|Third in the Bundesliga with three straight wins and three goals scored in each. Far from a contender, but this team is playing with a ton of confidence.|
Biggest movers: Tottenham, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich.
Out of top 25: RB Leipzig (GER), Real Madrid (ESP), Santos (MEX), Deportivo Alaves (ESP).
Honorable mentions: Borussia M'gladbach (GER), Atletico Tucuman (ARG), Everton (ENG).
Valencia scored twice in the first half
Bayern was the stronger team and it showed for much of the match
Barcelona is seeking its fifth consecutive Spanish cup title on Saturday in Seville
The title is on the line on Saturday
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