A return to the Champions League is just the starting point for Liverpool. It’s a very exciting squad Jurgen Klopp has at his disposal, but are you the man to find that discipline and challenge for the title on FIFA 18?
Consistency is what the Reds lack, and it has been the same this season. A 4-0 win over Arsenal was cancelled out by a 5-0 loss to Manchester City, and they have drawn both of their opening Champions League fixtures. Currently down in seventh place in the Premier League, there is plenty of work to be done.
It’s a four-and-a-half-star rating for Liverpool, which is about right considering their weakness in defence. Klopp’s side have an overall rating of 82, made up by 83 in attack, 82 in midfield and 80 in defence.
Liverpool are a work in progress but they are a great choice on FIFA 18’s Career Mode, and with so much attacking talent, goals are pretty much guaranteed. With a bit of fine tuning, you can turn this side back into a title threat.
With so many attack-minded players in the Liverpool side, it is hard to shoehorn them into your first choice side. You should look to play a holding version of 4-3-3, to give the defence added protection. If you want to go full gung-ho, go for the 4-3-3 attack formation which will put Philippe Coutinho in the number 10 position. If you want more of a fluid front three, go for a 4-3-2-1 or a ‘4-3-3 false 9’ and your wide players will see more of the ball.
Your first big call comes in goal. Simon Mignolet currently edges out Loris Karius, but Karius does have a fantastic potential of 84. We suggest you start with the 81-rated Mignolet, but drop him for the cup competitions. By the turn of the year, the 24-year-old Karius will be your number one choice.
In defence, you have the reliable Nathaniel Clyne at right back, with the hit-and-miss pairing of Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren as centre backs. Central midfielder turned left back James Milner completes the back four.
Your holding midfielder should be Jordan Henderson, with Emre Can a great alternative. Either side of him should be Adam Lallana and Phillipe Coutinho, with Georginio Wijnaldum eyeing up Lallana’s place in the side with his 85 potential.
In attack, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are the obvious choices out wide with Roberto Firmino leading the line.
On the bench, you should have Loris Karius (OVR 80), Ragnar Klavan (78), Alberto Moreno (76), Emre Can (80), Georginio Wijnaldum (82), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (80) and Daniel Sturridge (82).
With Liverpool’s attacking threats, you need to be very careful. If you pile players forward, they will get ripped apart on the counter-attack so make sure you get the balance right.
The key to all this is your defensive midfielder. Whether it's Jordan Henderson or Emre Can playing, they both have high all-round work rates. In defence, this is brilliant, but in attack they could get carried away and creep forward. To stop this, go to the squad section on Career Mode, select your side and then go to the instructions tab. Select your defensive midfielder and make sure he stays back while attacking in the attacking support option.
So with that sorted, you should have the protection you need. The tactic you want to play with Liverpool is clear – counter attack. Defend deep (don't be too quick to go for a tackle) to soak up your opponent’s pressure, and when you steal the ball spread the play wide or to creative midfielders Coutinho and Lallana. Salah (93 sprint speed) and Mane (92 sprint speed) have pace to burn, and Coutinho (88 dribbling) and Lallana (85 dribbling) are exceptional with their feet.
Playing that way means you don't need to get your full-backs galloping forward. Against the bigger clubs use the attacking support trick on your full-backs, so you don’t get overworked when the opposition counters. If your opponent is sitting deep, then look to strike from range with Coutinho (86 long shots).
The transfer market
Starting transfer budget: £66.8 million
Starting wages budget: £285,000
Who should go
In terms of numbers, Liverpool have a well-balanced squad. With one or two additions this side will be ready to compete, but there are a couple of players that need to be shown the door at Anfield. The highest profile of these is left back Alberto Moreno. The Spaniard was barely given a look-in by Klopp last season, but he's surprisingly back in the fold for the current campaign. However, with James Milner the first-choice left back (for now), and with Andrew Robertson holding an 82 potential compared to Moreno’s 79, his place at the club looks redundant. You should look to get over £10 million for Moreno, freeing up £67,000 a week in your wage budget.
Jon Flanagan looked to be a mainstay for both Liverpool and perhaps England when he broke through during the 2013/14 season, but a string of injuries means he's played just eight games for Liverpool since. A loan spell at Burnley didn’t solve any problems, and it looks increasingly likely that the 24-year-old will leave Anfield over the next 12 months. With just a 70 overall and 76 potential you should be selling right or left back Flanagan for around £3 million. His weekly wages of £40,000 can be better spent elsewhere.
With two goalkeepers battling it out for the number one spot and Danny Ward showing promise, there is no need for former Bolton man Adam Bogdan. The 70-rated ‘keeper should collect you £1.5 million and you can save on his £40,000 a week wages. The 21-year-old Lloyd Jones can also be sold given his 62 overall and just 70 potential, so look to get around £500,000 for him. The centre back's current wages are £10,000 a week.
Liverpool have a great record of bringing through young talent, with Steve McManaman, Michael Owen, Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard all academy graduates who have become club legends. But every player has to start somewhere, and as for Harry Wilson (OVR 61, POT 79) and Oviemuno "Ovie" Ejaria (OVR 66, POT 81) they need to go out and experience regular football before coming into the first-team fold at Liverpool. Look to send Wilson out to a League Two club for two seasons, and Ejaria to League One for just a single season.
Who to sign
Transfer budget after suggested sales: £81 million
Wage budget after suggested sales: £442,000
It’s not a massive transfer budget for Liverpool, but after those sales you should look to bring in one or two big names to launch your title challenge.
With just three men fighting out for centre back spots, Liverpool’s defence seriously needs repair. One big signing can take the back line from looking weak to strong, especially with Matip (POT 85), Lovren (POT 83) and Joe Gomez (POT 83) all having valuable potentials. With a budget of around £80 million or less, you can’t spend freely, so you should consider Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny. The 31-year-old Frenchman is rated at 84, and will set you back £34.2 million. Over three seasons you should see your investment returned, and you could do a lot worse than his £132,000 a week wages. The centre back has 88 aggression, 87 standing tackle and an 86 interceptions making up his game.
- Miranda – Inter Milan, Age 32, OVR 86, POT 86, Cost: £33 million, Wage: £101,000
- Andrea Barzagli – Juventus, Age 36, OVR 85, POT 85, Cost: £7.3 million, Wage: £92,000
- Laurent Koscielny – Arsenal, Age 31, OVR 84, POT 84, Cost: £34.2 million, Wage: £132,000
- Gary Cahill – Chelsea, Age 31, OVR 84, POT 84, Cost: £34.2 million, Wage: £141,000
- Nicolas Otamendi – Manchester City, OVR 83, POT 83, Cost: £32.6 million, Wage: £123,000
James Milner was never going to be a long-term solution at left back, and if you bring in a high-quality defender to replace him, the former England international can bolster your midfield options. If you want a left back of the highest quality, it has to be Atletico Madrid man Filipe Luis. The Brazilian international had a difficult season at Chelsea, but during the six years at Atletico Madrid he has been superb. The 31-year-old has a maxed out 85 overall rating on FIFA 18, and will cost you £45.1 million. His wages of £71,000 a week are very reasonable given his 91 stamina, 88 composure, and 86 sliding tackle.
- Danny Rose – Tottenham, Age 26, OVR 82, POT 83, Cost: £36.5 million, Wage: £87,000
- Marcos Alonso – Chelsea, Age 26, OVR 81, POT 82, Cost: £29.6 million, Wage: £101,000
- Raphael Guerreiro – Borussia Dortmund, Age 23, OVR 81, POT 86, Cost: £37.5 million, Wage: £51,000
- Layvin Kurzawa – PSG, Age 24, OVR 80, POT 85, Cost: £28 million, Wage: £61,000
- Grimaldo – Benfica, Age 21, OVR 80, POT 87, Cost: £33.9 million, Wage: £11,000
Only two Liverpool players have contracts running out at the end of the season, and you should look to renew both of them. Oviemuno Ejaria and Cameron Brannagan are two promising youngers and you will want to keep them at the club for the next three or four seasons to see how they develop.
With Liverpool still building towards being title contenders, the objectives you will face are realistic. Your domestic success is of critical importance, and you will be asked to finish in a Champions Cup (Champions League) place. The board may also ask you to win the FA Cup. Not only that, you will be expected to win the Premier League inside two seasons.
Brand exposure is also critical, and you may be asked to sell a certain number of shirts over the season. If you sign big names, win regularly, score plenty and win trophies, this will take care of itself.
Liverpool have a fantastic history in Europe, winning the European Cup/Champions League five times. Now back in Europe’s elite, your minimum requirement will be to reach the semi-finals of the competition, which is perhaps your most difficult task. If you concentrate on the FA Cup and Champions League, and rotate your squad well, you should achieve what is asked of you.
For youth development, you may need to sign two players under the age of 20. They will need to have a higher potential than the average rating of your current players in the same position.
You will also need to sign one youth player and play them in five matches over the course of the season.
Lastly, with Liverpool not having the relentless spending power of some of their Premier League rivals, there is a slight restriction on your finances. The board want you to maintain a profit margin of around £60 million, so keep an eye on your spending. Remember that you will earn a considerable amount of cash for getting through each round of the Champions Cup as well as for your Premier League finish.
Back to the big time
Liverpool being back in the Champions League is the first rung on the ladder for the club. It’s a perfect time for you to come in on Career Mode, tighten the side up, and by the second season, you should have a squad more than capable of winning the Premier League. That first season is vital, as you will need plenty of finances if you are to lift the Premier League in 2019, so aim for a minimum top three finish in your first season.
With Liverpool’s attacking play, they are very well suited to cup competitions, so an FA Cup win is a great achievement to have. The Champions Cup will obviously be more tricky, but they might perform well against the European heavyweights.
Full Liverpool squad player ratings
|James Milner||31||LB CB||England||80||80||£15.9m||£97k|
|Andrew Robertson||23||LB LWB||Scotland||75||82||£14.8m||£56k|
|Joe Gomez||20||CB RB LB||England||70||83||£6.8m||£35k|
|Jon Flanagan||24||RB LB||England||70||76||£3.8m||£40k|
|Trent Alexander-Arnold||18||RB RM CM||England||69||85||£4.3m||£20k|
|Georginio Wijnaldum||26||CM CAM||Holland||82||85||£46.9m||£114k|
|Jordan Henderson||27||CDM CM||England||82||84||£37.4m||£101k|
|Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain||23||RM LM RWB||England||80||85||£34.8m||£92k|
|Emre Can||23||CM CDM||Germany||80||85||£33.9m||£92k|
|Marko Grujic||21||CM CDM CAM||Serbia||71||85||£11.1m||£40k|
|Lazar Markovic||23||RM CF||Serbia||76||80||£17.4m||£74k|
|Cameron Brannagan||21||CM CAM||England||69||79||£3.1m||£33k|
|Oviemuno Ejaria||19||CAM CM||England||66||81||£3.1m||£12k|
|Philippe Coutinho||25||LW CAM||Brazil||86||89||£97.3m||£180k|
|Sadio Mane||25||RW LW||Senegal||84||87||£67.8m||£154k|
|Roberto Firmino||25||ST CF CAM||Brazil||83||86||£57.4m||£119k|
|Ben Woodburn||17||LW ST CAM||Wales||65||85||£2.7m||£13k|
|Harry Wilson||20||RW LW||Wales||61||79||£1.2m||£12k|
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Who are you going to sign for Liverpool on FIFA 18 Career Mode? Let us know in the comments section below.