Welcome!

FM Base has been serving the Football Manager community for nearly two decades and we're keen to ensure that we are here for two decades more.

Become a part of our community today, and you'll quickly realise that the Football Manager community is the best community.

Register

Gerard Houllier's Liverpool-style tactic (Narrow, Defensive, Counter, Very Direct)

Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2013
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Points
0
View attachment 334691View attachment 334690

This is my first time posting a tactic, though I have been playing the different entries of the game for quite some time and quite enjoy checking out some of the ideas you guys have. Here I'd like to share a tactic that I basically always use when I play.

I was a huge fan of France under Aime Jacquet and also Gerard Houllier-- especially his time at Liverpool. Note: If you want a Sacchi or some sort of Very Fluid ball retention/high-line tactic, this is certainly not a tactic that will interest you. I am very cautious when it comes to managing and I always focus on a strong back 4 and goalkeeper. Like Jacquet and Houllier, I also try and build a strong "square" of two central defenders and two defensive central mf players (in this case two mc(d) or central mf players with a defend setting.

I usually always try to use the shape of Houllier's early days at Liverpool instead of Jacquet's France as I find Jacquet's formation a bit more challenging. But again, I like to have that Hyypia-Henchoz type cb pair and then the Deschamps-Petit or Hamann-Gerrard in front. My fullbacks tend to not be as dynamic, as that old France side, until I can maybe snag a higher profile job. So usually I'll try and at least have more solid FBs who are tough enough and good enough in the air to be CBs as well.

With this tactic, the team will be solid, but work hard once a team comes onto them. Counter-attacks will be fast and down the middle. The team plays very very narrow so headers and flick-ons can find a number of players if the break is on. This tactic also utilizes the big target man type player who most of the balls will be aimed towards (to head). The other forward is an AF and for me is generally has to be a better player to succeed in the role. So this would be my Heskey-Owen type partnership. In the lower divisions I tend to try and find the biggest and hardest working player to play as the TM. If you use this tactic for higher divisions, you may want to find someone who's more like young Heskey and has the threat of a quick burst of speed. But I tend to find my guy and teach him "plays with back to goal," "tries to blast shots (or whatever it is)," and "looks to pass before shooting."

For FM 13, I started with this tactic as FC Metz in the French National and got sacked first season more than likely from my reputation not being high enough to start with a club that had that much ambition. In 2014, I took over Ayr which is a Semi-Pro team in the Scottish Third Division. My first season I won the league and promotion. I also had the best defenisive record in the league.

View attachment 334700


These are the two strikers I used for that season and the next in the Scottish Second Division. As you can see, my Target Man is not at all small and works hard to win ball after ball. The advanced forward Buchanen I was lucky to have inherited at the club when I arrived. Keep in mind these are part timers.

View attachment 334696View attachment 334692


That summer I picked up a new GK, RB, and CB. The rest of the first 11 was unchanged and I won the Scottish Division 2 title and the Scotish Challenge Cup. So I did the double and won back to back promotions. I again had the fewest goals allowed, but also 19 clean sheets. We also scored a ton as well. We went from November to March without losing a match also.



View attachment 334699View attachment 334698View attachment 334689



View attachment 334695View attachment 334694


For Training: I do 3 weeks of Defending followed by 1 week of Fitness. Match prep I do tactics until all three of my tactics are 100% then I do teamwork. I'm doing Average for my general training on a normal match week, and high when we have nothing scheduled for the week.

I do not do any special instructions for matches. I also don't use shouts.

***I use counter at the start of the season for all matches. The other two tactics I have set as one with defensive and one with standard only to get the team familiar with those two strategies . Once all the tactics are known pretty well, I use defensive for away matches and counter for home matches. I don't switch tactics, but merely change the strategy before the match starts. Standard I only throw out when in higher leagues and playing minnows or it's a huge mismatch.

***I usually stick to the gameplan and don't knee-jerk when things go wrong. I will sometimes switch from counter to defensive to try and further set up shop, but that's your call.

Again, I'm no expert, but I like this kind of football. You will get a lot of counters and a lot of long-balls. But the team will play some good football at times on the counter, and as you can see by my second season with Ayr, you can score some goals.
Eric 4-4-2.tac download - 2shared

Thanks guys and don't be too harsh. :)
 
Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
146
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Hi Eric (assuming that's your name)

Are you me in disguise ;)

By that I mean you literally have the same/very close philosophy and tendencies as me. Was refreshing to see this tactic posted. Although I have to say, I didn't actually think Houllier set his teams out like this.

First of all - check out my tactic here http://www.fm-base.co.uk/forum/foot...-4-4-2-good-old-fashioned-english-system.html

I have looked at the tactic but not tried it yet - I'm obviously assuming the through the middle focus is to get the ball up quickly to the TM, very understandable - but how do the widemen fit in this set up? Do they see much of the ball? The focus has to be to get the ball into the penalty area and with the aim with crosses going to target man I would be tempted to have the TM on attack duty, do you not find sometimes he is too deep when the ball goes out wide and crosses come in? I may be totally wrong here just trying to imagine the system working.

Also, have you tried this out with bigger sides? Liverpool maybe?
 
Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2013
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Hey, thanks for the reply.

I actually have had your tactic downloaded for some time as I usually try and look at some of stuff you guys come up with when a new version comes out. Its funny because yours is the only one I've kept to perhaps look at in the future again.

Regarding Houllier, I don't think his master plan (at Liverpool) was to play like this in the end. But I tried more to base this on the 2000/2001 treble winning Liverpool who play mostly a very narrow 4-4-2 and sometimes 4-1-3-2/4-3-1-2/4-4-1-1 depending on injuries and rotation. Though they scored a fair bit, it was defensive and very direct at times. Mine may be more Allardyce in ball movement than Houllier, but Liverpool weren't shy to launch the ball to Heskey in 00/01. I think more skillful players plugged in to different positions usually makes my tactics seem more like a continental counter-attacking system rather than English hoof.

I find on this version, the target man (on support) doesn't drop as far back as on past versions. Now i usually skip a couple of years games. I'll play 60 or so seasons per game with absolutely no reloads if things go bad or I get sacked. So I probably missed a few game innovations since that time. I'm getting more out of the target man with 13 than i've ever gotten. Again, this is as narrow as you can get and the wide players usually end up tucking in in front of the central players. So they are close to the strikers when the ball comes in. Note: I usually try and train my wide me with "gets forward often" and "runs with the ball often."

But at the same time, I tend move towards aggressive wide players who can play cmf or are a re-trained cmf player. This goes back to the old teams where you might see Danny Murphy and Gerrard playing wide in a 4-4-2.



View attachment 334769View attachment 334771

These are the stats for my two wide players. Currie can play RM and CM and is probably a more central player, but I have him out wide. With the TM on the right side, he gets more involved in flick ons and interaction with him. He also has "runs through the middle" which I haven't untrained because it may be beneficial for him to have it in this setup.

The main thing I like about this version is the full backs crossing the ball from deep to the box or TM. One thing you notice when teams play similar to this in real life, is when they get the ball into the other team's half and the ball comes back out to the fullbacks, they usually dump it back into the danger zone since the whole team is there. On older versions I could never get the full backs to look for early or deep crosses "very often" no matter what settings I used. On 13, I'm getting more and its making it a bit more enjoyable.

I have not ever had success with Liverpool with this sort of tactic. I usually start out very small (semi-pro) and try and work my way up. On 2011, I got the sack from Liverpool probably in like the 2030s. I went on to manage Spurs and used this sort of tactic to transform them (I was given the time and chance) into my sort of team. I won three straight titles and 2 European Cups in five seasons. So I think it can work consistently on the high stage. But I find myself hesitant to leave mid-table clubs for big squads because I'm often not afforded a chance to get the tactic to work with better players.

And my name is Eric :) I use Talleyrand because I'm in History and he's one of those figures I enjoy reading about.
 
Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
146
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Thanks for the indepth reply.

I am yet to try your tactic but think I definatly will at some point. The only slight issue I have is with the play through middle, they may contradict my "style" as I do like to play off a big bustling centre forward, only I also like to play with old fashioned wingers who stretch opposition defences with there pace and put crosses in for the two centre forwards, and also the other winger who naturally drifts in. Thats why play through middle I am not sure with. I more often that not play with Down both flanks because of my preference for wide play, sometimes mixed, never play through middle - maybe a change could do me good!

Because I am at work at the moment and obviously cant play whats the general behavior of the wide players in this tactic? In a as narrow as possible system and play through middle I can only imagine them performing like inside forwards as apposed to old fashioned wingers.
 
Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Messages
79
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Giving this a good whirl now Eric.

The focus being down the middle just wasnt sitting well with me though, especially being as the two central midfield players are in effect sitting ones.

I have changed this to mixed, and also changed the widemen to the role of 'Winger'. The only difference in the whole setting of this being run with ball being 'often' as opposed to 'mixed'. Being that it was such a minor tweak I just thought why not.

Will report back how it goes although so far looks pretty good.

EDIT: Sorry for confusion with ShaunWolf90 and Shauny - I am both, its just my laptop I use for work only likes the former, and my PC at home only likes the latter, odd and frustrating I know!
 
Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2013
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Feel free to do what you like. I'm by no means trying to push anything on anyone. Just felt like it's about time I posted the newest version of how I've been playing the game. I've never been one for wingers and when the counter is on I feel like the WM players get into danger positons enough for me while remaining cautious when there's no opportunity for a break.

The tactic does produce some good football at times, especially when 3 or 4 players get involved in the counter. It won't win any possession duels though. But I do tend to stick with counter at home and defensive when away when the team is able to switch between the two without losing too much familiarity with the formation.

I also just noticed that I went unbeaten at home this last season(2015/2016), and haven't lost at home since the previous season--January 31 2015. So that's January 2015 to May 2016 without a home loss. Can't really call my stadium a fortress though since its probably more like a public park with a few benches for supporters :)
 
Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2013
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Points
0
For an update, I'm now in the Scottish Division 1 using this tactic. I had a rough start due to the obvious skill of these teams compared to my squad. I've had two back to back promotions and the bulk of my first 11 is the same that I had in Division 3. But we are now up to 4th.


View attachment 335569

I find I'm still getting a good amount of CCCs, but the players are missing the goal more. The mentality of some of my better players has been **** mainly due to a lot them wanting to leave and it has been a problem trying to keep them. I'm contemplating trying to move to a bigger club soon if I can't keep some of my main players. It is just too hard to get replacements from transfers and loans when you're at the helm of a semi-pro club.
 
Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2013
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Darkness, I'm sorry you don't like the tactic. I'm not really sure what you meant by your comment, but I will assume you meant to be rude in regards to your opinion. If you don't like this style of play then I would advise that you not to click and read about tactics that (shown in the title) aren't fluid, short passing, and whatever else is popular. If you want to play with the tactic and are having problems, I would ask if you are playing with the strategy on "counter" at home and "defensive" when playing away? Also what is your target man like? My target man is 6'9 and tops the league in key headers for non-defenders since I've had him.


View attachment 341910

As you can see, 22 and 21 goals for a teenager the last couple of years is pretty good, especially for a team still using division 3 players.

My third season with Ayr I was going for three straight promotions with this tactic. I was picked to finish dead last, and while I didn't get promotion to the Scottish Prem, I felt like we did well. The players just aren't going to be able to contend with Premier league level players. As a semi-pro club, I can't get good players to sign. I also can't get clubs or the players to agree to let good players come on loan. The club won't go professional and won't allow a parent club.


View attachment 341908

So I'd say another good season for the tactic. Second is good for a team picked to finish last. It stinks that there's only one promotion spot as it will take some good play to finish higher than the Premier League team who comes down. This season, I'm promoting a couple of young players I bought a few seasons ago since buying good enough players isn't an option. I only signed 1 new player for my 4th season with the club and he has the potential to be really good.

View attachment 341911

I normally don't sign guys with such low workrate and teamwork, but I'm really in need of more quality and depth wide right. I hope you guys that downloaded the tactic have given it a chance and tried to buy players that fit the system. Even though the target man is on support, he will get a lot of goals if you have the right guy. If you like to play with a target man and have been frustrated in the past, I think this tactic can get the most out of him.



The Talleyrand
 
Top