After coming so close to lifting their first league title since 1990 last season, many were backing this season to finally be Liverpool’s year.
Winning the Champions League was a huge achievement but the Premier League title is something the Reds have never won before, although that will probably change soon.
The Merseysiders have won 20 of their opening 21 league matches so far this season and sit a mammoth 16 points ahead of their nearest rivals at the time of writing.
But what exactly are the expectations of the board when you sit down on the Reds’ hot seat?
This new feature has been a big success in FM20. It shows both the long and short-term goals for the club as outlined by the board. This includes the style of play, financial targets, and competition results.
The Liverpool board want to keep the “Heavy Metal” style of football going, with attractive and attacking football being the order of the day. Given the quality of the players you have available, this is definitely achievable.
READ MORE: FM20: Chelsea Team Guide
The famed Melwood academy is also an area of interest for the board as they have arguably the best team in the present but want to keep it that way for the future. Furthermore, players of age 23 and under should be signed for the first team.
The competition targets are very high but are possible to achieve if you’re an experienced FM player.
In your first season the board wants you to challenge for the Premier League title, reach the semi-finals of the Champions League and the final of the FA Cup. The board also wants you to win the FIFA Club World Cup. Mercifully, they don’t regard the Carabao Cup, Community Shield nor the UEFA Super Cup as important.
FM20’s tactical options are similar to those from last year, so don’t panic too much about trying to learn your way around a new system.
Given the talent that Liverpool have at their disposal, the styles of play you should opt for fit the board’s expectations nicely. Gegenpress is the most suitable, as it’s very high intensity and doesn’t allow the opposition time to think.
Tiki-Taka and Vetrical Tiki-Taka are also recommended by assistant manager Peter Krawietz.
Liverpool have the required squad depth to play most formations well.
A narrow 4-4-2 is the most suitable formation according to FM but the 4-1-4-1 and 4-2-3-1 are also recommended. Jurgen Klopp plays 4-3-3, so that is also an option but the one that I’d personally recommend is the 4-1-4-1 as it allows you to play Salah, Firmino and Mane in their best positions.
A back four is definitely the way to go regardless of how you line up further up the park, as Alexander-Arnold and Robertson are brilliant at going forward.
In the 4-1-4-1 DM Wide, your best XI would be Alisson in goal, with a back four of Andrew Robertson, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Fabinho is best for the DM position, with club captain Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita as the two central midfielders.
The front three are of course Sadio Mane on the left, Moh Salah on the right and Roberto Firmino as the sole striker.
On the bench, the best seven to opt for are Adrian (GK), Joel Matip, Nathaniel Clynne, James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum, Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi.
Liverpool’s side is good enough to win the title but they’re far from being head and shoulders above the competition in FM. There are some special players in your first team, though and here’s the pick of the bunch!
Virgil van Dijk – CA 4 star (178), PA 4.5 star (182)
Virgil van Dijk is the best defender in the world at the moment and this is reflected in FM20, as his 178 starting CA is the highest of any centre back. The Dutchman is a true a rock at the back, players almost never manage to dribble around him and it’s little wonder why with the attributes he’s showcasing.
17 tackling, 17 strength, 18 heading, 17 positioning and 18 decisions make van Dijk a nightmare for attackers to face. He’s also brilliant at starting the attack from the back too, with 16 passing, 15 first touch and 16 pace also in his glorious locker.
Mohamed Salah – CA 4 star (178), PA 4.5 star (184)
Moh Salah may not be lighting the Premier League up as much as his previous seasons but 14 goals and 7 assists is a great tally for the Egyptian winger. Salah is also able to play as a striker too if Firmino is unavailable, making him an excellent asset to the team.
READ MORE: FM20: Arsenal team guide
16 dribbling, 18 finishing, 18 acceleration, 18 pace, 16 agility and more attributes make Salah a daunting prospect for full backs across Europe to face.
Sadio Mane – CA 4 star (177), PA 4.5 star (184)
Recently-named African footballer of the year Sadio Mane is the final player on Liverpool’s podium of top talent. Mane is very similar to Salah, which is a good thing as both are some of the top wingers on the planet.
Mane is natural on both wings and as the sole striker in a side. The Senegalese international also has some excellent attacking attributes with 18 acceleration, 17 finishing, 16 first touch, 16 dribbling and 18 pace, catch him if you can.
Liverpool have some fantastic young players on their books but as showcased in their demolition against Aston Villa, some have a long way to go before being considered for the first team. These are the best Liverpool players who are 20 years old or younger.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – CA 3 star (154), PA 4.5 star (170)
Trent Alexander-Arnold is quickly becoming one of the best full-backs on the planet. The youth academy graduate has grabbed his opportunity with his home town club with both hands and when fit is a certainty on Klopp’s team sheet.
It’s hard to believe that Alexander-Arnold is only a 20-year-old at the start of FM20, his vision and passing ability are as good as most experienced central midfielders. Speaking of which, Trent is also able to play in defensive midfield and central midfield as well as right wing-back.
READ MORE: How to sign an uninterested player in FM20
His stand-out attributes are 17 crossing, 14 dribbling, 16 passing, 16 vision and 14 acceleration all of which will get better in the coming seasons.
Rhian Brewster – CA 2 star (115) PA 3 star (140-170)
When Fabinho and Origi start to drop away, Rhian Brewster is the first choice to take over the number 9 shirt at Liverpool. Brewster has some great mental attributes which is key to success years down the line.
Brewster is best as an advanced forward which is ideal for Liverpool’s style of play. His key attributes at 19 years old are 18 determination, 14 finishing, 13 first touch, 14 acceleration and 14 pace.
Kamil Grabara – CA 2 star (118), PA 3 star (138)
Kamil Grabara is gaining first team experience out on loan at Huddersfield Town this season but will return to Anfield for the start of the 2020-21 campaign. Grabara is already at the standard required at Championship level and will mature to be of Premier League standard in a couple of years.
In all honesty though, you’ll probably need to bring in a new keeper to replace Alisson once he starts to drop in quality but that won’t be for perhaps 10 years!
|Player Partnerships||Rushing Out (Tendency)|
Team Leaders: Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Moh Salah
Highly Influential Players; Gini Wijnaldum, Roberto Firmino, Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Andrew Robertson, Alisson, Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain
Dynamics depict the dressing room atmosphere and hierarchy at your club. It is important to keep the team leaders and highly influential players at the club and happy. More playing time and big contracts to other players can see them leap up the tiers, so be sure to keep an eye on this tab so you understand how your team fits together.
READ MORE: FM20: Manchester United team guide
For Liverpool, you shouldn’t have any trouble keeping Henderson and Milner, although the latter is entering the twilight of his career. Moh Salah shouldn’t be too tricky to keep on your books either but be sure to tie him to a new contract when the time comes.
Starting transfer budget: £102 million
Remaining wage budget: £301,000 a week
Liverpool have a huge transfer budget of over £100m at the start of FM20 and with over £300k remaining in their wage budget, you can afford to make a top quality signing at the start of the game.
There isn’t anywhere in the squad that needs to be particularly improved upon but if there is somewhere, it’s that second centre-back spot. Joe Gomez will improve, as will Joel Matip but if Virgil van Dijk gets injured, you could struggle to keep clean sheets against the best sides.
Quality second centre back
Liverpool’s sole weakness is perhaps their strength in depth, or lack thereof. As mentioned before, central defender is the aim, someone top quality that can go alongside Virgil van Dijk. They don’t need to be particularly young but just younger than van Dijk so that they can become number 1 once he leaves.
Marquinhos of Paris Saint-Germain is one of the best DC’s at the start of FM20 (CA 165) and will can improve further (PA 171). He’s confident on the ball with his best role being that of a ball-playing defender so the Brazilian suits Liverpool’s style perfectly.
At around £50m in valuation, he’ll probably cost a similar amount to the £75m the Reds paid for van Dijk. This may seem like a lot but you get what you pay for and that’s the going rate for a player at the top of his game like Marquinhos.
|John Stones||25||Man City||England||158/170||£37m||£100k|
If you were to describe Liverpool’s contract status in one word, it would be secure. The Reds have almost all of their first-team regulars tied down to deals stretching to 2023 or 2024.
Of course, this won’t mean top clubs will be interesting in signing the likes of Alexander-Arnold, Roberton, and van Dijk but it will mean that you can drive a harder bargain.
For those that play less regularly, some players’ contracts will expire at the end of the season but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Nathaniel Clynne, James Milner, Adam Lallana and Andy Lonergan‘s deals will end in the Summer of 2020 unless renewed. However, these players are either expendable or getting old, it’s far better to get rid of the deadwood than letting them rot in the reserves once they’ve outlived their welcome at Anfield.
Thanks to the revival of the club’s success under Klopp, the future is looking very bright for the Merseyside giants. Liverpool’s bank balance is set to more than double to over £400m in just two seasons. Turnover is set to stay at a steady £600m for the foreseeable future.
Your expenditure is set to increase, though, as wage hikes before each season make the staff’s contracts more expensive to maintain. Any extra success you have in your time will see this increase further, although prize money will help to offset this.
The transfer budget is set to more than double too, up to £250m going into the 2022/23 season. You won’t be short of funds to improve this already stellar squad even further!
Liverpool fans don’t need reminding that they haven’t won the Premier League since the re-branding in 1992. You have to go back to 1990 for their last league title, which marks 30 years ago by the end of your first season in charge.
With Manchester City riding high thanks to their back-to-back league titles, it likely won’t be as easy for you as Jurgen Klopp’s side are making it appear this season. Winning the league in your first season in charge is definitely doable, though.
Liverpool’s packed trophy cabinet hasn’t been added to too much in the past decade (aside from the previous few seasons) so a double or treble wouldn’t go amiss. The UEFA Supercup, FIFA Club World Cup and FA Cup are all strong possibilities for silverware and the Champions League is a possibility too.
Your management talent will be put under an enormous test though, as the fitness of your team gets stretched to breaking point during the Christmas period. Pass this test, though, and you’ll be an Anfield legend in no time!
Full Liverpool Player Ratings
|Trent Alexander-Arnold||20||D/WB (R), DM, M (C)||CWB||Support||3 star||154/170|
|Virgil van Dijk||27||D (C)||BPD||Defend||4 star||178/182|
|Joe Gomez||22||D (RLC)||BPD||Defend||3 star||152/165|
|Andrew Robertson||25||D/WB (L)||FB||Defend||3 star||156/166|
|Fabinho||25||D (C), DM, M (C)||DLP||Defend||3 star||159/168|
|Jordan Henderson||29||DM, M (C)||BBM||Support||3 star||157/158|
|Naby Keita||24||DM, M (C)||BBM||Support||3 star||154/166|
|Moh Salah||27||AM (RL), ST (C)||IF||Attack||4 star||178/184|
|Sadio Mane||27||AM (RL), ST (C)||IF||Support||4 star||178/184|
|Roberto Firmino||27||AM (RLC), ST (C)||DLF||Support||4 star||172/178|
|Substitutes & Reserves|
|Andy Lonergan||35||GK||G||Defend||1.5 star||100/120|
|Georginio Wijnaldum||28||DM, M (C), AM (LC)||DLP||Defend||3 star||157/160|
|James Milner||33||WB (RL), DM, M (RLC)||BBM||Support||3 star||154/157|
|Adam Lallana||31||DM, M/AM (RLC)||AP||Support||3 star||149/159|
|Divock Origi||24||AM (L), ST (C)||AF||Attack||2.5 star||149/159|
|Dejan Lovren||29||D (C)||BPD||Defend||3 star||149/153|
|Nathaniel Clyne||28||D/WB (R)||WB||Defend||2.5 star||138/150|
|Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain||25||M (RC), AM (RLC)||AP||Attack||3 star||153/158|
|Joel Matip||27||D (C)||BPD||Defend||3 star||153/156|
|Xherdan Shaqiri||27||M/AM (RLC)||IF||Support||3 star||149/159|