Soccer Power Rankings: Manchester United on the rise; there's a new No. 1 after Liverpool's loss to City
The Reds fall three spots after losing their first Premier League game of the season
It's a new year, but the same season. The 2018-19 season has continued in January for some, while others have to wait a little more to get back into action, like Serie A and Bundesliga. But before this month is over, we'll see a bunch of games that could really shape certain leagues, especially in the Premier League. Before we get to our power rankings, here are three big games in the Premier League in January that could really shape the season for the involved clubs. You can stream all these games and more on fuboTV (Try for free).
Tottenham vs. Manchester United on Sunday: Boy, this is a big one. Tottenham throttled United 3-0 at Old Trafford earlier in the season, but this isn't the same Red Devils now that Jose Mourinho is out of the picture. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad looks revived and sharp, so this promises to be as big of a game as this team will have the rest of the way. A win gets the Red Devils within seven points of third place, and a Tottenham win gives them a 13-point edge that could be enough to fight off United the rest of the way. A draw will be better for Spurs.
Arsenal vs. Chelsea on Jan. 19: This feels like a game where the winner will be the favorite for that fourth-place spot. Chelsea has it right now with three more points than the Gunners. Arsenal may have more weapons over all, but Eden Hazard has been on fire and Unai Emery's defense has not been. It's going to be a fast, intense match with so much on the line.
Liverpool vs. Leicester City on Jan. 30: The Reds are still the favorite to win the league, but they need to be cautious here. The Foxes have wins over Manchester City, Chelsea and Everton, and losses to Crystal Palace, Cardiff City in the Premier League and to fourth-division Newport County in the FA Cup. It's safe to say Leicester has defeated far superior teams and has been defeated by teams it has no business losing to. Wacky, and for Liverpool that could be dangerous because the Foxes know how to play up or down to an opponent.
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
Previous rankings: Dec. 24 | Dec. 18 | Dec 10 | Dec 3 | Nov. 26 | Nov. 12 | Nov. 5 | Oct. 30 | Oct. 23 | Oct. 10 | Oct. 3 | Sept. 26 | Sept. 17 | Sept. 4 | Aug. 28 | Aug. 23 | Aug. 15 | Preseason rankings|
|One of two undefeated teams left in Europe's top leagues, and Cristiano Ronaldo is coming on strong. He's got 15 goals in 24 matches.|
|+1||Barcelona continues to put it together in La Liga and Lionel Messi is scoring again. The club's lead is just five points, but it still feels like there won't be much of a race.|
Manchester City (ENG)
|+1||Massive and potentially season-defining victory over Liverpool to open up the race for the crown. Boy are we in for some finish.|
|-3||Still the Premier League favorites, and no shame in losing on the road to City. The team must bounce back strong and Jurgen Klopp will have them ready.|
|--||In 20 games thus far this season, Neymar has 17 goals while Kylian Mbappe has 16. Throw in Edinson Cavani's 13 and you have the best attacking trio in Europe.|
Atletico Madrid (ESP)
|Good draw at Sevilla to stay within striking distance of Barcelona, but with Champions League coming up, does this team have the depth to contend in both?|
Borussia Dortmund (GER)
|Losing Christian Pulisic may not be all that bad. Jadon Sancho has proven to have just as much potential, if not more than the American youngster.|
|Spurs are so good in the final third with 21 goals in their last five matches. It's time to start recognizing Son Heung-Min for how fantastic he is.|
|The lack of conviction in the final third by players not named Eden Hazard could be this team's downfall. Time to buy a big-time striker.|
|Well Unai Emery, you've destroyed the minnows for the most part. Now Chelsea and Manchester City come calling in the coming weeks. It's time to see how for real this team is.|
Bayern Munich (GER)
|Bayern may be in second in the Bundesliga, but you can look at them as the favorites. The club is starting to gel on the field even if Manuel Neuer isn't back to his normal self.|
Manchester United (ENG)
|What a difference Solksjaer has made. Five wins out of five and Paul Pogba is looking like a new man. Dare I say the Red Devils could give PSG a run for its money in the Champions League?|
Inter Milan (ITA)
|When this club can get Mauro Icardi some help in attack, then we can start to look at them as contenders. For now, it falls under the "best of the rest" tier in Italy.|
|Fifteen different players have scored for this club in league play alone. That teamwork has been key to sitting in first place.|
|At some point, Ajax has to be considered the favorite against Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16. That time might be now.|
|Upcoming games against Lazio, Milan and Fiorentina will verify whether or not this team can compete with Juventus for the title. Chances are, this team may slip up due to inconsistent attack.|
|Five players have scored at least for goals for this team in the league, all of which are 25 years of age or younger. The future is bright if the team can hang onto Memphis Depay, Nabil Fekir and others.|
|Chelsea and Arsenal are reportedly after striker Nicolas Pepe, and that's no surprise. The Ivorian attacker has 12 goals and five assists in 19 league games.|
|An easy upcoming schedule could get this team back into the top four or break its season. The defense has to be on the same page or else this team is in trouble.|
|If Dortmund could get $73 million for Pulisic, what could PSV get for Hirving Lozano? The Mexican national team has as much potential and is entering his prime.|
Borussia Monchengladbach (GER)
|Alassane Plea has been a great addition from Nice, and alongside Thorgan Hazard this club has two rising stars.|
Real Madrid (ESP)
|Outside the top four after losing to struggling Real Sociedad, when will Santiago Solari start feeling the pressure? Only takes a short time with Florentino Perez leading the charge.|
|Pablo Machin continues to grind out results and everybody is contributing. Add some depth at the back, and this team may just hang on to a top-four spot.|
| 24. |
|Watford is 12 points away from meeting lat season's total of 41, and the team has 17 games to do it. Impressive stuff from Javi Garcia's team.|
|Lazio is stable and doing enough to be a top-four team, but imagine if Felipe Anderson was still around. Ciro Immobile can't do everything in front of goal.|
Biggest movers: Manchester United (up four spots) and Liverpool (down three spots).
Out of top 25: Wolverhampton (ENG).
Honorable mentions: Leicester City (ENG) and Rangers (SCO).
The U.S. will be without two key players for this one
The U.S. won its first friendly under Gregg Berhalter with a full player pool
Messi is back in the national team as Argentina battles another South American team
The U.S. plays its first match with a full-strength squad under Greg Berhalter
Can Messi and company build their La Liga lead?
The Reds can go back to the top of the table Sunday