IntroductionThe 2013/14 season from Liverpool was one to remember for the club, as they seemed destined to win the league, but fell late in the season finishing second behind City. A busy off-season from Brendan Rogers saw Liverpool spend well over £110M, bringing in the likes of Mario Balotelli, Emre Can, Lazar Markovic and Adam Lallana but the biggest transfer was the sale of premier league golden boot winner Luis Suarez to Barcelona for £75M.
The goal with Liverpool is to end the 24-year wait for the league title and bring the honour and glory to one of the largest growing fan bases around the world.
Basic Outline of Facilities and HistoryStadium – Anfield
Capacity – 45276
Pitch Condition – Perfect
Training Facilities – Great
Youth Facilties - Great
Junior Coaching – Good
Youth Recruitment - Established
Finances & BudgetIn your initial meeting with the Chairman, Thomas Werner. He will propose the following budget:
Wage Budget - £1.9M per week
Transfer Budget - £15M
Liverpool start the save with a balance of £52M and a projected end of season balance double that. They have multiple large kit sponsors, but at the same time they have taken out many massive bank loans, totaling to £270M that is needing to be paid back. Including a £150M pound loan that means they owe the bank £1.51M per month.
Strongest TacticsThe following tactics are the ones that I found worked best for me at Liverpool, I rotated these for the first two seasons
This tactic I always found to work wonders with Liverpool, particularly in the first season when Gerrard is still up for the task. It is designed so that the RB and LB are constantly involved in the attack, pushing up to get the cross into your big strikers. Alberto Moreno is the perfect LB for the team, but a RB is needed. I suggest Nathaniel Clyne or Kyle Walker, who can be brought in for a realistic fee. The CDM is crucial as he is a DLP, he can make the pass up the middle, perfect for Stevie G. Your CM’s should be Jordan Henderson and Phillipe Coutinho, as they perfectly complement each others style of play. Raheem Sterling is perfect for the Shadow Striker (CAM) position sitting behind your strike force of Mario Balotelli and Daniel Sturrdige, assuming they can all stay fit.
Starting XI – Mignolet, Moreno, Lovren, Sakho, Johnson (or new signing), Gerrard, Coutinho, Henderson, Sterling, Sturridge, Balotelli
This tactic is an incredible backup for the one above, it allows a bit wider play and again uses the pace that Liverpool have been given on the wings. Again I recommend you stick to the same back four, while looking for a fast RB who can cross. The midfield should feature a DLP and a BWM, fitting for Henderson and Gerrard. The AML/AMR both need to be quick, I would suggest playing Sterling on the left as a Winger and Lazar Markovic on the Right, also set as winger. Coutinho will fill the middle, as an Advanced Playmaker and Daniel Sturridge up top as a Poacher.
Starting XI – Mignolet, Moreno, Lovren, Sakho, Johnson (or new signing), Gerrard, Henderson, Sterling, Coutinho, Markovic, Sturridge
Another formation that is all about the wingers and full backs. Again I highly recommend you keep the same back 4 while looking at a new RB. This formation allows Gerrard again to slot in at DM and start the attacks, while playing through Coutinho and Henderson who will be in the Central roles. Now Sterling is a crucial part of this formation, playing AML, he will be the source of a lot of chances, he should play as an IF. Lazar Markovic is the perfect partner for him at AMR, also as an IF. Balotelli slots in better then Sturridge for this one as he will play as an Advanced Forward.
Starting XI - Mignolet, Moreno, Lovren, Sakho, Johnson (or new signing), Gerrard, Henderson, Coutinho, Sterling, Markovic, Balotelli
First 11 Positional AnalysisThe initial Liverpool squad is very good, and if needed, will be able to get you through the entire first season with good results. But in some positions they need some young talents, as you will see as we go on.
Goalkeepers: Simon Mignolet is the obvious first choice keeper for the season and next few seasons to come, but he can be very inconsistent at times which can let him down. But at 26 you should be aiming to hold onto him for the long run, and look for a young prospect to follow him. You will need a youngster as Brad Jones does no longer cut it as a viable backup for the Premier League. He is 32 now and his stats are not good enough to be able to make it into the side if Mignolet is injured. Ryan Fulton is a promising youngster, but more can still be found.
Right Backs: By far Liverpool’s weakest position on the field. Glen Johnson is getting way to old to continue to play Champions League Level football. A new player is needed in this formation as quickly as you can. Manquillo is also available on loan from Atletico. Or you can take the risk and play the 21-year old Jon Flanagan, who is a real shining light in Liverpools youth. A couple players that I have outlined are Nathaniel Clyne from Southampton and Kyle Walker from Tottenham, both would have an instant boost on the side.
Central Defenders: A position where Liverpool are blessed with some great leaders in Lovren and Skrtel, but a great talent in Mamadou Sakho. These three players should last you for the first 2-4 seasons depending on how fit they stay. Another youngster however may be needed if you want another back up, Eder Alvares Balanta and Jesus Vallejo are very good youngsters who can make an impact.
Left Backs: Alberto Moreno should be your first choice instantly, the young Spaniard is fast, can pass, can cross and dribble for you up the wing. He is very versatile, being able to play anywhere on the left hand side. As his back you have Jose Enrique, who is well past his time as a good LB. A young replacement should be on the cards, Jose Luis Gaya from Valencia in Spain has bags of potential and can be a back up for Moreno and push for a start in a few seasons
Right Midfielders: None of the formations that I have selected/used have featured RM’s, but I will analyze AMR in the Attacking Midfielders section
Central Midfielders: Another position where Liverpool find themselves with bags of talent and brains. The club captain, Steven Gerrard will be starting for you for the first season at least, as his incredible pass placement and tackling will be crucial. Lucas Leiva can step into the sport from Gerrard if he gets injured. At the more traditional CM role, your main players will be Jordan Henderson and Phillipe Coutinho, both who will be in the starting line up for many seasons. Joe Allen will be an important back up if you decide not to sell him
Left Midfielders: None of the formations that I have selected/used have featured LM’s, but I will analyze AML in the Attacking Midfielders section
Attacking Midfielders: Here we will be covering AMR/AMC/AML. The Attacking Midfield is where most opposition teams will be scared of Liverpool, the talent of Raheem Sterling, who at only 19 is one of the best players in the league, and will be a threat consistently throughout your entire career. The flair of Coutinho, who, like Sterling, will continue to be a force for a very long time if you play him correctly. The brains of Lallana, who will be a super-sub when used, being able to chip in assists when it is most needed. You are also blessed with many incredible youngsters in these positions. Lazar Markovic will be looking to prove his mega summer price tag with his incredible pace and dribbling. Suso will continue to develop into a player to look out for in the future also.
Strikers: At Striker is where Liverpool exert their strength. When they are fit, they are some of the best finishers in the world. Daniel Sturridge is the final piece of the Liverpool puzzle, being able to play the majority of roles, Sturridge will slide in anywhere and provide with bags of goals, if he can get over his injury problem. Mario Balotelli is a new signing at Liverpool, but the young Italian will partner Sturridge very well when played in the 2 striker formation, he has the potential to keep growing. You are also lucky to have very good back ups in Fabio Borini and English legend Rickie Lambert, both will be pushing their hardest to get into your team.
WeaknessesThis Liverpool side is very strong. But in certain positions, age is getting the better of some players. At RB you should be looking for a fast player who can cross. At CB you should look for a youngster like Eder Alvarez Balanta or Jesus Vallejo. The Attacking Midfield could do with a bit of experience, someone who has been everywhere.
ConclusionLiverpool are slowly morphing into one of the best teams to be on football manager. They give the players everything they need at the start. A lot of quality youth, a good budget and some star players.
But doing well does not come without hard work, and you will need that as you look to get Liverpool a consistent top 4 finish in the Premier League and competing in the Champions League.
Thanks everyone for reading and leave your thoughts and experiences with Liverpool in the comments!