Power Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs: Liverpool and Chelsea Rise Fast

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2014

Power Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs: Liverpool and Chelsea Rise Fast

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Welcome back for the latest edition of our European power rankings, featuring the best-performing sides from around the top leagues on the continent.

    Once more, we've had a packed fixture list in every major top flight to trawl through with more than a handful of those fighting for honours dropping surprising points.

    We've also recently had a couple of big results between teams in the Premier League's top four, Spain's La Liga now has three teams level on points at the top, and ground was gained on the runaway leaders in Italy.

    Here's the top 20 for this week.

Honourable Mentions

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Sporting Lisbon are in action on Tuesday evening for their Liga Sagres game at Benfica, so their stay outside the top 20 could be a short one if they pick up a result.

    Galatasaray have made up so much ground in Turkey's Super Lig that their win at the weekend—and Fenerbahce's defeat—means they are just four points off the top and in second place.

    Ajax could only manage a 1-1 draw at PEC Zwolle, but they extend their lead at the top of the Eredivisie to five points for now.

    Meanwhile, Porto got back to their winning ways with a 3-0 victory against Pacos de Ferreira and are just one point off top spot having played a game more.

20. Benfica

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    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    Last Week: 19

    Movement: -1

    Benfica haven't yet had their game for this matchweek after high winds caused stadium damage at the weekend.

    The match will be played on Tuesday evening; Benfica can go four points clear if they win.

19. Schalke

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    Last Week: New

    Movement: New

    Schalke make a deserved entrance to our rankings after a third straight win left them four points clear of fifth place and looking good for a Champions League spot for next season.

    The Bundesliga team won 2-0 at home against Hannover with Jefferson Farfan and Max Meyer on the scoresheet.

    Schalke are just two points behind third-placed Dortmund, so an even higher finish isn't yet off the cards.

18. Athletic Bilbao

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Last Week: 18

    Movement: -

    Athletic remain in the top four in La Liga, but they missed out on the chance to extend their advantage over their chasing rivals after a 0-0 draw at Celta Vigo.

    A game of few clear chances means only a fifth clean sheet of the season for Bilbao, a welcome plus, but they would be feeling a lot happier this week if they were looking at a six-point gap between themselves and Villarreal in the race for fourth.

17. Everton

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Last Week: 12

    Movement: -5

    It's been a bad couple of weeks for Everton in the race for fourth in the Premier League—they've taken four points from their last four games and have lost twice in the last three, both times against direct top-four rivals.

    Spurs inflicted the latest damage on them with a 1-0 win in a tight game with Everton really feeling the impact of having no fit main striker.

    Arouna Kone and Romelu Lukaku were both out, while Lacina Traore only appeared off the bench.

16. Bayer Leverkusen

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    Frank Augstein/Associated Press

    Last Week: 17

    Movement: +1

    Bayer Leverkusen had a tough game at Borussia Monchengladbach on Friday night, but they passed the test with flying colours after a 1-0 win.

    Heung-Min Son scored the only goal of the game to give Sami Hyypia's team a big three points, maintaining their distance ahead of Dortmund and at least keeping a semblance of pressure on Bayern Munich.

15. Tottenham Hotspur

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Last Week: 16

    Movement: +1

    As per the Everton slide, Tottenham's own top-four ambitions received a timely boost with the 1-0 win.

    Emmanuel Adebayor's well-placed, second-half goal sends Tottenham up into fifth in the Premier League and very much in the Champions League hunt.

    It wasn't a vintage, all-out-attack performance by any means, but Spurs got the job done.

14. Monaco

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    Harry Engels/Getty Images

    Last Week: 14

    Movement: -

    Monaco faced something of a make-or-break fixture for their title aspirations in Ligue 1 as they faced leaders Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday.

    The 1-1 result does them no harm in terms of showing they can compete, but it does leave them five points off top spot with 14 matches to go.

    Finishing second in just their first season back in the top flight would be a great achievement, even after all the expenditure in summer.

13. Napoli

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    Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

    Last Week: 15

    Movement: +2

    With all the furore and the anticipation over Milan's "resurgence," and the fact the away side took an early lead, Napoli's players could have been forgiven for thinking all was conspiring against them.

    They put in a great performance though to turn around that early deficit and record a 3-1 home victory with Gonzalo Higuain scoring twice in the second half for the win.

    That was Napoli's first win in four, and they'll need to improve to catch the two teams ahead of them, but they're looking good for a Champions League place at present.

12. Dortmund

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    Frank Augstein/Associated Press

    Last Week: 13

    Movement: +1

    Borussia Dortmund ensured they kept pace with Bayer Leverkusen after a thumping 5-1 win at Werder Bremen.

    Robert Lewandowski and Henrikh Mkhitaryan both netted twice in the rout, leaving BVB four points off second place in the Bundesliga table. The title fight is over, but Dortmund still have enough to play for this season.

11. Roma

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    Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press

    Last Week: 10

    Movement: -1

    AS Roma avoided defeat in their derby fixture against Lazio at the weekend, but the 0-0 draw doesn't help them gain any ground on the title race.

    It means they are unbeaten in four now in Serie A, but they can ill afford many more dropped points if the title is still a target.

10. PSG

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    Lionel Cironneau/Associated Press

    Last Week: 9

    Movement: -1

    Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain will likely be happy enough with the 1-1 draw at Monaco.

    They retain their five-point lead, they get their hardest game of the season out of the way without defeat, and it's another game closer to the end of the season with less time for their rivals to catch up.

    Two draws in three games is the only very minor concern.

9. Liverpool

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    Last Week: 11

    Movement: +2

    Liverpool strengthened their grip on a top-four finish after demolishing Arsenal at Anfield by a score of 5-1.

    Four goals in 20 minutes at the start of the game signalled Liverpool's intentions to swat their opposition aside. They've now won six of their last eight and are unbeaten since late December with a three-point cushion between themselves and Spurs in fifth.

8. Arsenal

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Last Week: 8

    Movement: -

    No movement for Arsenal this week, but that's only on account of still being a few points ahead of Liverpool thanks to their exploits so far this season.

    The 5-1 loss was about as bad as it gets in a one-off league game—but it was a one-off, and they'll hope to fare far better over their hugely difficult run of 10 games over the next two months.

7. Manchester City

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    Tony Marshall/Getty Images

    Last Week: 6

    Movement: -1

    Another Premier League team that failed to take maximum points this week was Manchester City, which were held to a 0-0 draw by lowly Norwich City.

    The league's best attack versus the joint-fifth most porous defence might have been seen as a one-result-only outcome, but City slipped up and suffered in the title race as a consequence.

6. Barcelona

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    Last Week: 7

    Movement: +1

    Barcelona bounced back from their defeat last week in the best possible way with a 4-1 win at Sevilla.

    Leo Messi was on the scoresheet twice, Alexis Sanchez continued his good form in front of goal with another, and Cesc Fabregas scored the fourth.

    Barcelona are top of La Liga—but only by the slimmest of margins—with three sides all level on points.

5. Atletico Madrid

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2

    Movement: -3

    Atletico Madrid were the big losers in Spain over the weekend, losing their match at Almeria 2-0 and sliding down the table into third as a result.

    As with Barcelona, they are still on 57 points—level top—but the game was one they should have taken something from and could prove costly as a result.

    It's only their second league defeat this season.

4. Real Madrid

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4

    Movement: -

    Real picked up an exciting 4-2 win over Villarreal on Saturday to likewise move joint top with 57 points in the tightest La Liga title race in memory.

    Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Jese and Benzema again did the damage against tough opposition.

    This is definitely going to be a fantastic finale to the season to watch with all three teams capable of winning the championship.

3. Juventus

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    Dino Panato/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3

    Movement: -

    Juventus let a lead slip very, very late on at the weekend to miss out on another three points.

    Hellas Verona scored four minutes into stoppage time to seal a 2-2 draw after Carlos Tevez had struck twice for Juve.

    With Roma also drawing, the damage was minimal, and Juve remain nine clear at the top.

2. Chelsea

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Last Week: 5

    Movement: +3

    Eden Hazard was the star of the show for Chelsea as he rolled in a clinical hat-trick to defeat Newcastle United 3-0 in the Premier League.

    Coupled with City and Arsenal dropping points, it meant a great weekend for Jose Mourinho's men and they now sit top of the table by one point heading into the last 13 games of the season.


1. Bayern Munich

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    Michael Probst/Associated Press

    Last Week: 1

    Movement: -

    Bayern Munich remain top of the Bundesliga, top of the rankings, top of the world and top of basically any competition they enter.

    Another game, another team dismantled. They beat Nurnberg 2-0 at the weekend with Mario Mandzukic opening the scoring before Philipp Lahm chipped in with a rare goal.

    Bayern are 13 points clear at the top of the league and look set for another title to celebrate.