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Bringing The Glory Days Back To Anfield - The Liverpool Career Thread

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Game Details

Database Size: Large
Selected Leagues: England (npower League 1 And Above), Germany (First Division Only), Italy (Serie A Only), Spain (LIGA BBVA Only)
Team: Liverpool


Introduction
Having done a number of saves on this version without really settling anywhere, I have decided to do a one team career save this time round and the chosen team is none other than England's Liverpool. In an attempt to impart his pass and move philosophy into Anfield, Brendan Rodgers has taken the team through a transitional season and the Reds currently sit 7th in the table. I couldn't resist the challenge of taking Liverpool back to its glory days in the 1980s and thus, I settled on the second most successful team in England's history.

I will be writing on almost everything about the career on this thread, from tactics to training and from transfers to player development. This will be very much like my FM diary and I will be keeping track of everything I do, and why I make certain decisions on the save.

Aims
1. Win games and trophies
2. Develop and play primarily English players to assist the national team
3. Bring players through the youth system
4. Play attractive attacking football

And we are all set to go...

When you walk through a storm

Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
There's a golden star (sky)
And the sweet silver song of a lark

Walk on...
Through the rain...
Walk on...
Through the rain
Walk through the wind
And your dreams be tossed and blown...

Walk on... (walk on)
Walk on... (walk on)
With hope (with hope)
In your heart...
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone.
Alone...

Walk on... (walk on)
Walk on... (walk on)
With hope (with hope)
In your heart...
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone.
Alone...

You'll never...
You'll never walk alone...

Walk on... (walk on)
Walk on... (walk on)
With hope (with hope)
In your heart...
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone.
Alone...

You'll never walk...
You'll never walk alone...

 
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Squad Analysis

Physios & Scouts
Before commencing on the squad analysis, I would like to mention a few things that I do at the start of every save. I would first attempt to improve the quality of my physios and scouts by sacking the incapable and bringing in better ones. Incapable meaning any stats below 15 and the main stats that I look at include physiotherapy, judging player ability, judging player potential etc.

Budgets & Directions
Before assessing the squad, the board had already informed me of the transfer and wage budgets and to be honest I was quite surprised by it. I have absolutely no cash to spend whatsoever and the payroll has reached its limit. This means I will have to make full use of the current squad and set a realistic target for the season as the squad is simply not quite up there with the elites of the league as shown here:


This is not looking very promising as I have always placed emphasis on teamwork and work rate in all of my previous saves and unfortunately, these are the two worst attributes of the current squad. On a more positive note, the team looks decent technically and I will be looking to make full use of this when building the tactics and shouts. For instance, with poor strength, work rate, teamwork, leadership and aggression, I foresee difficulties in holding onto leads should we invite pressure by going on the defensive in the latter stages of the games. On the contrary, shouts like retain possession and pass to feet would be more effective.

Formation
I will be looking to play 4-4-2 as I enjoyed watching the irresistible attacking football of the Treble-winning Man United team and the Arsenal Invincibles the most. Football has evolved a lot in the recent years and with the recent rise of mighty Barcelona and the great Spanish international team, many managers have turned to a possession based style of play with creative playmakers the fulcrum of their teams. However, in my humble opinion, great football should be about building strong partnerships in the center of the field (the DCs, MCs and STs) with attacking full-backs and skillful wingers bombing down the flanks. Hopefully, I would be able to replicate the same success with the current Liverpool team.


When everyone is fit, this will be my first-choice starting 11 and it is obvious that the wings could do with some strengthening.

GKs
This position is rather straightforward with Reina as the clear number 1. Brad Jones and Peter Gulacsi are the current back-ups and I will be looking to raise some funds by selling them before delving into free transfer market for a number two. The youth prospects just aren't good enough and I will only be able to look for Reina's replacement when I get some transfer funds.

DCs
Agger and Skrtel will start as the first choice DCs with Liverpool legend Carragher and young Coates as back-ups. Martin Kelly and Andre Wisdom are the most decent English prospects we have in this position and I will be looking to keep them throughout my entire tenure as they are in line with my philosophy of developing English prospects from the youth team. I will also be recalling Danny Wilson before deciding on his future development.

DRLs
It is great to have England's first choice right-back at the club and the only regret I have is his injury proneness. Glen Johnson will be carefully managed with back-up Martin Kelly (who can also cover the DCs) getting his fair share of games. Jose Enrique is the first choice left-back with young Jack Robinson providing cover and together with John Flanagan and Ryan McLaughlin, all three of them will be carefully developed and hopefully they will go on to be first-choice full-backs at the club.

MCs
Liverpool is blessed in central midfield with Lucas, Stevie G, Shelvey, Joe Allen and Henderson all capable of filling the 2 MC slots. I will be looking to play a DLP (D) and BWM (S) combination and this will be further discussed in future tactical posts. Lucas will be the ball-winner with Allen backing him up while the other 3 will fight it out for the sole deep lying playmaker role.

MRLs
We are quite thin in the wingers department with only Downing, Sterling, Assaidi and maybe Henderson competent in the MR/L positions. Coutinho is also capable of playing wide if retrained properly but I will be pushing him further upfield into the ST positions. Jordon Ibe and Suso are the best youth prospects in these positions. This is definitely the weakest area of the team and I will be looking to bring in better quality with whatever funds I can raise.

STs
Suarez is the main man here and he will play as the deeper-lying half of my strike force with Coutinho providing cover. Sturridge and Borini will play further upfront as poachers and hopefully they can grab enough goals to help push the team up the table. Yesil and Morgan are the youth prospects in this position and I will be looking to develop them to the fullest of their potential.

I will be posting monthly updates depicting results, how I go about playing the game and the nitty gritty details in the course of my save. Do drop a comment if you think there's somewhere I can improve on and like the thread if you enjoy reading it!



 
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Start Of Season Update

Europa League Disappointment


The start of season had been a mixed one. I was pleased with pre-season and the results of our domestic games but was absolutely gutted when we were knocked out of the Europa League in the qualifying rounds. We were robbed in the first leg away to AIK when their goal was incorrectly allowed despite the clear offside. In the home leg, we dominated proceedings and hit the post numerous times before AIK smashed and grabbed with a Reina own goal. As a result, we are now out of Europe and I was shattered as I wanted to use the competition to blood my youngsters. We have to concentrate fully on domestic matters now and hopefully go far in both cups.

Good League Form


Our league form has been pleasing with 5 wins and a draw, and we now sit prettily in second place behind the cash-rich idiots from Manchester. Wigan Home and Norwich Away were routine wins and it was pleasing to see the strikers open their account as early as the second game at Carrow Road. West Ham at home was a tricky one as we grabbed victory late in the game with Suarez's brilliant finish after I decided to go 'Overload' five minutes from time. Newcastle away was basically about containing Ben Arfa as he was in crazy form and it was no surprise to see him grabbing the lead for the Magpies with a screamer from thirty yards. Thankfully, poacher Danny Sturridge was in hot form too and he capitalized on a defensive mix up in Newcastle's defense to equalize immediately. He then went on to give us the lead and Lucas sealed a brilliant come-back win with a powerful effort from just inside the box in the second half.

Man United Away

Next up was the big one against Man United at Old Trafford and we played magnificiently in the first-half, defending resolutely and countering effectively. Suarez was sharp and took the lead for us on the half hour mark with a placed finish after speeding past Vidic to latch onto a Lucas through ball. We continued our good showing in the second half and Fergie switched to 4-4-2 to match our tactics. Unfortunately, the extra man upfront was too much for Skrtel and Agger to handle as Welbeck muscled past Agger to score with ease. The score stayed 1-1 till the end and I was satisfied with a point against our rivals.

Spurs Home


I played the youngsters against QPR in the league cup and thankfully, we managed to scrap a 1-0 win when Suarez came off the bench to score a brilliant diving header. We ended September with a comfortable 2-0 home win against Spurs and our full-backs held their own against their dangerous wingers in Bale and Lennon. I was disappointed to see Sturridge pick up an injury during training before the Spurs game but to my surprise, Borini stomped into the starting line-up with a fantastic showing, scoring two goals on either side of half-time. He will give me a real selection headache when Sturridge comes back from injury.

Tactics


Before I end this entry, I would like to write a bit on the classic 4-4-2 tactic that I employ for all my games so far. The style is set to Fluid as we have no players between the lines in this formation and we need them to move in between the lines to keep possession. Without the Fluid Style, we may struggle to keep the ball like how England did at the Euros. I vary the Strategy from game to game, using the pre-game odds as a gauge most of the time. For instance, I would use a control strategy at home against Wigan as we are expected to win the game comfortably. On the contrary, I switched to a Defensive Strategy against Man United away as it is vital to stop them from playing since they are at home and their first 11 is marginally better than ours (although I would hate to admit it).

Passing Style was set to short as we are good enough technically to play a short passing game as mentioned in the earlier post. I like my team to deny the opposition space to play in and thus, Closing Down was set to Press More. However, I may switch it to Default if I discover that they are pressing too much in games. Over pressing may lead to the opening up of space in the back line and quick strikers will exploit them with ease. The rest of the settings are set to Default and the players' roles and duties are set as shown in the screenshot above. I do not tweak any sliders or boxes in the players' instructions as all the instructions are inter-linked and I do not want to mess them up.

I will write about the players' roles and duties and how I go about setting them up in future posts if you guys are interested. Do like the posts and drop a comment if you have anything to say about the game. Cheers! \o/

You'll Never Walk Alone
 
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Great save mate I to have a Liverpool save they are IMO the best team to reform on fm13 they have tons of potential
 
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Thanks mate! The great potential of the squad attracted me to start this save in the first place and there are lots of players I am looking to bring through! Exciting times ahead :)
 
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Mid-Season Update

Transfers
As the January transfer window slams shut, I have decided to take some time out to work on an update in this thread. As much as I want to carry on playing the save, there are so many things to write about after an eventful half of the season. I would first go through all the fixtures that I have played and highlight a few interesting matches before providing a mid-season update on the performances of all my players. In terms of transfers, I was finally given some cash to spend and Pepe was brought in on loan from Juventus to provide some drive down the flanks. I couldn't resist bringing in Will Hughes from Derby as he is one of the brightest young talent in England and this buy mirrors my philosophy of developing young English talents. In terms of sales, Assaidi was sold after Pepe's arrival and Danny Wilson was off-loaded to QPR due to the overcrowding of central defenders in the squad.

October


Having played so many matches since the last update, it's impossible to include all matches in this post and thus, I will only be focusing on the analysis of matches that I have failed to win. After the routine 4-0 home win against QPR, West Brom away was a stalemate and we only created one clear cut chance throughout the match. Sometimes, you get this kind of performances in away games where players aren't at their best and there's nothing much I could do about the outcome. We followed up the draw with 3 comfortable wins against Swansea [A], Blackpool [A] in the league cup and Reading [H].

Bad November


November was a bad month as we dropped points in two consecutive league games. First up was Stoke away and this is a game regarded by many managers to be one of the toughest away fixtures in the league. We were comfortable for most of the first half and Reina was not troubled until the last minute of the half, when Peter Crouch stole a late goal with a clinical finish. We went into the break shell-shocked and I sent the team back out after an aggressive team talk. We only managed to equalize through Suarez's neat effort 15 minutes from time and we were unable to find the winner despite throwing on Shelvey and Sturridge. Next up was Fulham away and we were far from our best but looked good for a point until we concede a ridiculous goal. Without a shadow of a doubt, I have to upload this goal as I have seen nothing like this before.

Ridiculous Goal

[video=youtube;6naKWj4q4LM]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6naKWj4q4LM[/video]​

Hangeland lifted a harmless-looking free-kick from the half-way line and to my horror, Reina fumbled at the ball and it dropped in. There was no way back after this shocking goal and we ended the game 1-0 losers. Thankfully, we ended the poor run of form with two comfortable home wins against Southampton and Sunderland before the top of table clash against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. It was an even game where we defended resolutely and countered intelligently. We conceded once again before the break when Vermaelen towered above our defence to score a thumping header from a corner. Thankfully, we came out from the break firing and took the lead after two quickfire goals in 4 minutes through Skrtel and Suarez. Unfortunately, we were unable to hold onto the lead and Giroud pounced on an Agger error to fire past Reina for a 2-2 draw.

Manchester December

Next up was Man United away in the league cup and due to the imminent home game against leaders Man City, I chose to play our second string. Inevitably, we lost 3-2 but our second stringers put up a great fight at Old Trafford and I was pleased with the showing. The decision to rest our first-team players paid off as we stormed to a commanding 4-0 win against Man City at home and from then on, the defending champions went into a slump and they now sit 8 points behind us in third place. We then went on an unbeaten run of nine matches, including the FA Cup win against Ipswich away before falling to a thrilling 3-4 defeat at White Hart Lane. We went into the game with no recognized left-backs (both Enrique and Robinson were out) and ended the game with Flanagan playing out of position at left-back. As a result, Bale and Adebayor absolutely slaughtered us despite our forwards in good form. The last match of this update was played at Goodison in the FA Cup fourth round, where we came from behind to beat our rivals with Coates scoring at both ends. And here is how the table looks as of now:

Despite sitting comfortably at the top of table 7 points clear of Arsenal, it was anything but easy. The squad stayed clear of injuries apart from the recent left-back crisis and was not heavily burdened by fixtures since we were knocked out of the Europa league very early in the qualifying rounds. Key players like Suarez, Lucas and Borini stayed fit and performed consistently throughout the season to push the team up the table. Suarez and Borini has now scored a combined total of 39 goals in all competitions and long may that continue. Despite being the ball-winner of the team, Lucas has chipped in with 5 goals and 5 assists and he has been in great form throughout the first half of the season. Here are the remaining stats of all the players who have made 5 starts or more so far.

I can't wait to finish up the season and hopefully, we can hang on to the lead at the top of the table and go far in the FA Cup. As usual, thanks so much for reading and do like the post or leave a comment if you have anything to say about my save.

You'll Never Walk Alone
 
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End Of Season Review - Champions

Champions


In the end, we won the title comfortably, 13 points clear of Spurs and I am proud to say that we scored the most and concede the least in a great season in the league.

Top Players' Stats


Here are the top players' stats from the league and it was pleasing to see Suarez grabbing the top scorer award. His strike partner Borini was not far behind in 4th. Suarez also had the most assists in the league and was rightly named the player of the year. Borini contributed 10 assists too and the strike duo was vital in the club's league winning season.

Disappointment In Cups


Here are the remaining fixtures played. We were knocked out of the FA Cup in a cruel fashion by Arsenal and the 5-1 scoreline was not a fair reflection of the fairly even game. Arsenal were much sharper upfront and Podolski had a storming game, scoring 3 goals to grab the match ball at the end. The league was wrapped up with 4 games to spare after we went on a rampaging run of 8 wins in 9. All in all, it was a satisfying season in the league but I was disappointed with the Europa League and FA Cup exits.

Youth Development
Youth development is a big part of my save and I will now post screenshots of the youths' attributes before and after the season to analyze their progress. All these players were kept at the club for the whole of first season because I wanted to monitor their progress without external intervention of clubs who loan them.

Flanagan


Flanagan is put on a Wing Back schedule with Heavy intensity and his Crossing, Marking, Passing, Tackling, Anticipation, Composure, Determination, Teamwork, Work Rate, Acceleration, Pace, Stamina all went up by one while Decision and Positioning went up by two.

McLaughlin

Since the Full Back schedule works on both Anticipation and Concentration while the Wing Back one concentrates on the Decision attribute, McLaughlin is placed on the Full Back schedule with Heavy intensity as his Anticipation and Concentration needs more work than his Decision attribute. Tremendous improvement is seen in most of his stats and a staggering 4 point increase is observed for his Concentration, Determination, Positioning and Natural Fitness attributes. This is all done with merely training and tutoring without him playing a lot of first-team games (only 1). However, he has made 34 appearances in reserve team football and it is always important to keep young players match fit throughout the season to maximize their development. I will give him more games next season to boost his development but the fact that he isn't English holds me back.

Kelly


Kelly is capable of playing in both central defence and right back positions and due to his versatility, he was able to play more games (29 appearances in total). Due to the lack of quality cover at right-back, he was placed on the Wing Back schedule and most of his defensive stats went up by 1.

Robinson


Robinson did not get a whole lot of games this season due to bad luck. Enrique was fit for most of the season and when he was out, Robinson picked up a couple of knocks at the same time and thus, his number of appearances were restricted. He was placed on the Wing Back schedule and his Crossing, Marking and Determination went up by 2 while his positioning went up by 3, with a couple of others by 1.

Wisdom


Wisdom was placed under the Central Defender schedule and most of his defensive stats rose by at least 1 point. An interesting point to note was the tremendous improvement in his Determination attribute. This is due to tutoring by the highly determined pair of Agger and Skrtel.

Coates

Coates made 16 senior appearances this term and similarly, there were obvious improvements in his defensive attributes.

Henderson

Henderson was converted to a right-winger this season due to the lack of quality out wide and his Crossing and Dribbling increased by 2 points under the Winger Schedule. The retraining of position to MR have suppressed his attributes' increase.

Sterling

I could have played Sterling more this season but I was concerned that his inexperience would cost me points. The attributes focused under the Winger schedule all increased by 2 while his Determination attribute shot up by 4 and this is again due to tutoring by the highly professional loanee Pepe. I will definitely be looking to grant him more starts next season to further continue his climb to first-team football.

Ibe

I am blessed with another promising winger in Ibe and he really grew after one season of intensive training. His Crossing and Dribbling rose by 3 points and most of his mental and physical stats increased by at least 1 point. Together with Sterling, we have secure talents in the wide positions.

Suso

Suso's development has been ordinary, with 1-2 points increase in a few attacking attributes and this could be due to the lack of first-team football and the retraining of position to ML.

Shelvey

Shelvey's progress has been steady and the attributes focused under the Deep Lying Playmaker schedule have seen improvements of 2 points. He will share games at the DLP-d MC position with the ageing Stevie G in the coming season.

Borini

Borini's performances on the pitch has outshone his performances on the training ground and most of his attacking attributes have increased by 1 point. He has been absolutely brilliant for me with 19 goals and 10 assists in 33 appearances as the team's poacher.

Coutinho

Coutinho has been disappointing both on and off the pitch. Whenever I try to rest Suarez and bring him into the starting 11, he disappoints and I had to hurl him off at half-time countless times. This could be due to the fact that he's not suited to playing upfront despite him being accomplished at ST after retraining. However, due to his 4 and a 1/2 stars' potential, I am prepared to give him another go and hopefully, he can go on and prove himself to be a capable back-up to our talisman.

Morgan

Morgan has come leaps and bounds this season and has seen great rise in his attacking atributes. Unlike Coutinho, he also scored his first professional goal when called upon in the league cup. The fact that he is English makes things even better.

Yesil


Yesil has made steady but unimpressive progress and the most interesting thing I noticed about him is his switch of nationality from German to Turkish.

Progress


The above picture depicts the current starting 11 and hopefully, the future starting 11 made up of English players. As you can see, the GK and the MC positions are empty as I have yet to purchase English prospects capable of playing in those positions. To be honest, I have my doubts about Flanagan, Wisdom, Kelly and Morgan and their capabilities to reach the highest level in club football. I will however continue to try and develop them to the best of my ability and give them chances in the first-team instead of signing ready-made foreign talents.

Roll on second season!

You'll Never Walk Alone
 
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Pre-season 2

Transfers


Here are the transfers in and out made so far. 6 youngsters were signed, with 5 of them English. The most prominent transfer was the signing of Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal. I was reluctant to pay so much at first but I needed more quality out wide to start the season while waiting for Sterling and Ibe to develop. The fact that he is English made my decision a whole lot easier. Stockdale, an English keeper, was signed on loan from Fulham to cover Reina as Brad Jones was moaning about wanting to leave.


Pre-season is the most boring part of FM imo. You have to play a whole lot of meaningless friendlies to get your players match fit and the selecting of line-ups is a *****. However, it is important to get it right so that you can get your team up and running right from the go. Fitness training of high intensity is vital and pre-match tactical training must be kept at high intensity to improve your team's tactical familiarity. As shown in the screenshot above, I play easy friendlies and try to get as many wins as possible to boost the players' morale to the highest before the start of season.


The first real meaningful game finally arrived and it was the Charity Shield match against Arsenal. I started most of the starting 11 last season in this game as it would be suicidal to introduce wholesale changes too quickly in this version of fm. I remembered once trying to overhaul the whole QPR team right at the start in one save and as a result, the team got off to a really bad start. Hence, from then on, I always try to give most of the players (apart from the hopeless ones) half a season to prove themselves before making changes to the squad.

[video=youtube;npZitRvK5pc]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npZitRvK5pc[/video]​

As shown in the match video above, the game was a dull one with very few clear cut chances. Both teams scored with two pieces of nice wing play and it was delightful to watch Downing beat his marker before finding Suarez for a simple tap-in. Arsenal equalized through new signing Konoplyanka and the score stay as it is till full-time. Arsenal was horrible in the shoot-out, missing the first 3 and we scored ours to seal my first Community Shield win with Liverpool. When it comes to penalty shoot-outs, I always put my best penalty takers up first to grab the initiative. If you put your best penalty takers last, they may not even have a chance to take them should your first few takers miss. A prime example was the Euro 2012 Semis between Portugal and Spain, when Ronaldo was assigned to be the fifth taker and he did not even get the chance to take it.

As depicted in the screenshot above, my first few league fixtures are real tough and they include Man United and Chelsea away, as well as Spurs at home. Hopefully the team can stay in touch at the top of the table after all these tough games. Roll on the second season!

You'll Never Walk Alone
 
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