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Champions League power rankings as Liverpool, Chelsea, Man City and Spurs return to action

The Champions League returns on Tuesday night with the first of the last-16 ties, and Premier League quartet Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham are all eyeing glory.

The Champions League is back, and you know what that means.

Thirty-two teams have been whittled down to 16 for the start of the knockout rounds, and despite some up and down form domestically, all four Premier League combatants have made it this far.

But before we start, a reminder.

Our Champions League power rankings are NOT necessarily a rank of the best teams in Europe right now, but more where they all stand in relation to the draw and their probability of progression.

So here’s a reminder of the last-16 ties:

Paris Saint-Germain vs Bayern Munich

AC Milan vs Tottenham

Club Brugge vs Benfica

Borussia Dortmund vs Chelsea

Liverpool vs Real Madrid

Eintracht Frankfurt vs Napoli

RB Leipzig vs Manchester City

Inter Milan vs Porto

Let the ranking commence!

16. Eintracht FrankfurtEintracht Frankfurt are currently sixth in the Bundesliga

Eintracht Frankfurt are currently sixth in the Bundesliga 


Getty Images)

There’s always someone who has to get the short straw, and this time around it is Eintracht Frankfurt.

The German side, last season’s Europa League winners, have been handed one of the toughest tests in Europe against a vibrant Napoli, and they’ll need to take some form of first leg lead to Naples if they are to have any chance of progression. Probably a healthy one.

Results like Sunday’s 3-0 hammering at mid-table Cologne don’t suggest that’s possible though, and a chastening exit looks likely.

15. RB Leipzig

Timo Werner is now back at RB Leipzig 


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Another one of Germany’s representatives and another one that has been given a huge task, with RB Leipzig standing in the way of a Manchester City side the bookies are making heavy favourites for the tournament.

Leipzig have some fine players, and all eyes will be on Chelsea’s past and future in attack in Timo Werner and Christopher Nkunku.

Josko Gvardiol is a fine defender too, as we saw at the World Cup, but trying to keep out City could leave him as dazed and confused as the time he chased Lionel Messi.

14. Club BruggeScott Parker has gone from a Premier League relegation battle to the last-16 of the Champions League

Scott Parker has gone from a Premier League relegation battle to the last-16 of the Champions League 


Belga/AFP via Getty Images)

Yes, that really is Scott Parker.

Last seen getting beaten 9-0 at Anfield and lashing out at anyone and everyone he could see in frustration, Parker has, like Colin Farrell, pitched up In Bruges where he takes over the Belgian side who are unusually off the pace in their domestic league.

His seven league games since arriving have yielded just the one victory, which doesn’t exactly bode well for taking on an attack-minded Benfica side who outscored PSG to take top spot in their group.

13. PortoPorto are perennial last-16 competitors

Porto are perennial last-16 competitors 


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Back again, Porto do love reaching this stage of the competition, but they very rarely go much further.

Sure, there is the odd quarter-final appearance should they get a kind last-16 draw, but they won’t be seen as favourites by many when they take on Inter Milan, even though they’ll play the first leg in Italy.

Five points off Benfica in the league, they don’t quite have the calibre of player to take them too far this time around, although goalkeeper Diogo Costa is a star.


12. TottenhamHarry Kane will obviously be a key figure for Spurs

Harry Kane will obviously be a key figure for Spurs 


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From beating Manchester City one week to losing 4-1 at Leicester the next, you really don’t know what you’re going to get with Tottenham from week to week, sometimes day to day.

Antonio Conte has had a tough trot of things of late, but the growing expectation that he will leave the club come the end of his contract in the summer can’t be helping anyone, and although there is great individual talent there you do wonder if they can keep it together over 180 minutes against AC Milan.

The loss of Rodrigo Bentancur to injury is also a huge blow.

11. DortmundJude Bellingham will have English eyes on him in the last-16

Jude Bellingham will have English eyes on him in the last-16 


AFP via Getty Images)

At this stage of any season the most pertinent Borussia Dortmund question is usually just how far they are behind Bayern Munich in the league, and the answer this time around is only three points, with a competitive finish expected in the Bundesliga.

They are third though, also behind plucky upstarts Union Berlin, and there is nothing plucky or upstarting about their Champions League opponents Chelsea.

They’ll be quarter-final underdogs should they progress, but although the loss of Enzo Fernandez isn’t ideal you get the sense they won’t mind that.

8. Inter MilanInter are the best of the rest in Italy behind a dominant Napoli

Inter are the best of the rest in Italy behind a dominant Napoli 


AFP via Getty Images)

Being second to an all-conquering Napoli team is no shame right now, and Inter do look to have marginally established themselves as the best of the rest in Italy.

Simone Inzaghi’s side put up a strong fight before going down to eventual finalists Liverpool in the last-16 last season, but they’ll be happier with the draw against Porto, and a real chance of progression.

7. ChelseaThe new faces have been rolling in at Chelsea

The new faces have been rolling in at Chelsea 


Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

It’s not a case of what you definitively know will happen, but more what *could* happen.

Chelsea *could* find any combination of their vast array of talented players and build a team that is capable of going far in the Champions League, starting with a last-16 win over Dortmund for which they really should be favourites.

Graham Potter *could* find the magic formula to unleash players such as Enzo Fernandez and Joao Felix, with both full of the talent needed to go far in this competition.

Will it happen? Probably not. But it’ll be fun finding out if it does.

Bayern face the tough test of PSG in the last-16 


Getty Images)

Ultimately the team that lost out the most from Benfica pipping PSG to top spot in their group was Bayern Munich, with the German giants drawn against the galaxy of Parisian stars in the first knockout round.

They’ll be up for the fight obviously, and whoever wins will delight in both progression and in knocking a big fish out of the bowl, but Bayern look a little weaker than their opposition and will need a good first leg result.

3. Paris Saint-GermainKylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi are both set to face Bayern

Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi are both set to face Bayern 


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Had both Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi not returned to PSG training on Monday then Bayern might well have leapfrogged their French opponents here, but with the World Cup final combatants both back then PSG have the edge.


They’ll need to avoid the type of collapse that saw them exit the tournament to Real Madrid last time out, but if they can battle past Bayern then belief could grow.

2. Real MadridReal picked up the Club World Cup last weekend

Real picked up the Club World Cup last weekend 


Getty Images)

The serial course and distance specialists, Real Madrid are back following last season’s scarcely believable triumph when they came back from the dead to beat Chelsea, PSG and Manchester City before outlasting Liverpool in the final.

The newly crowned club world champions quite simply know what to do in this competition, and it would be no surprise if they picked off a Liverpool side in transition before becoming the big beasts everyone has an eye on in the quarters.

1. Manchester CityManchester City are the bookies favourites

Manchester City are the bookies favourites 


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With everything hanging over them and a siege mentality kicking in, could this finally be Manchester City’s year in Europe? The bookies certainly think so.

City are as short as 7/4 favourites in some quarters having been given a much kinder draw than many of their main rivals for the competition, with RB Leipzig surely set to be swatted aside in the last-16.

From there anything can happen, and with anger as their main motivation it could be a glorious ending.


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