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All time CM/FM favourites fitted into a real life inspired framework

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I've had this idea of making a tactic inspired by the real life roles of some of my favourite CM/FM players. I have intentionally stayed clear of a lot of the typical "heroes" of CM and FM such as; Bakayoko, Svindal Larsen, Duff, Tsigalko, Nikiforenko, Chiotis, Adu etc. Simply because I have no idea of how they played in real life (some are even fictional).

I first came up with this idea playing FM 13 or 14, but didn't try it until FM15, because I struggled  to decide upon a "framework" to work with.

To give you a glimps of where most of my ispiration with regards to players come from I've added two pictures of some CM favourites:


(Left: CM 97/98, Right: CM 01/02)

I finally landed on this team in FM15:


It shouldn't be to difficult to see whose "framework" inspired this tactic. Just look at the DM...

The project was quite successfull and one of the saves I've had the most fun with since a VERY long save on FM08 (I tried to get LFC to a 100 PL titles)

My intention is not to replicate a specific tactic. It's more about picking players, who you at some point probably wished played for your team, and fitting them into a template based on real life tactics.

Having just read Ozil's brilliant Sacchi thread, I thought about doing this experiment with a Sacchi inspired system, but then decided to do something a bit more conservative.

So I started looking back at Benitez' Liverpool side from 08/09  for inspiration.


Imagine having a few more goals in that team, or even just better understudies to the first 11.


Liverpool under Benitez played a fairly compact 4-4-1-1. Some may argue it was more of a 4-2-3-1, but I think the 4-4-1-1 best represents their formation in defence.

I have decided to start out with a 4-4-2, and try to make a more solid 4-4-1-1 long term.


Fluid shape in keeping with the compactness of Benitez' team,  and control/standard as a starting mentality.


Some of the TI's I have in mind are:

- Higher or Much higher d-line

- Be more disciplined

- Play out of defence


Here are some of examples of players/teams I considered basing my tactic on:


But ended up with this:


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Never really made a tactical development thread, so to keep the thread progressing I've been naughty and made a test save using the editor... Once I'm happy with my tactic I will start a "real" save and develop players to fit into the system.

Changes made in the editor:

  • Put together a squad with players to fit the roles I have in mind
  • Removed all PPMs to create a neutral role interpretation only based on the players attributes


Starting point:

Mentality and shape

Fluid - Control


Much higher d-line

  • decrease space between def and mid to make the team more compact
  • increase pressing without using pressing TI

Stay on feet

  • with a high line and control mentality and no offside trap, I want my players to stay on their feet so we don't needlessly lose shape and give away too much space.

Be more disiplined

  • even though I'm on fluid I still want my players to stick to their instuctions

Formation, roles and duties

GE-test.thumb.jpg.3e88b2af52d3d2ea1c904926b60715f4.jpgDecided to go with the CMd to the left  to give more space inside for the WMa, and also offer more protection should the BPDd dispossessed, or make a bad pass.


GK: Distribute to fullbacks

Wa: Press more, tackle harder

DLPs: Press less

WMa: Dribble more

CFs: Press more, tackle harder

CFa: Press more, tackle harder



Played through the pre season getting familiarity, and matchfitness. I decided not to make any tweeks or changes to the tactic during pre season. I did however make some notes on what I needed to have a look at once the competitive games started.

  • Striker roles not playing out the way I envisaged
  • Not sure about the change in central midfield. The WMa doesn't really use the space between the CMd and the CFa
  • Not sure about left/right choice up front
  • CFs not dropping deep until the ball is in the final 3rd
  • Team is more compact than I initially planned, could be a problem against teams playing a simple ball over the top

 League season begins:

First match against a relegation candidate. A comfortable 4-0 win, but all of the problems I spotted during pre-season was noticable to some degree. The good thing about winning comfortably, even though it's only a test save, is that I don't feel the need to change anything during the match, so i didn't.

The biggest issue for me (not necesseraly for the tactic) is the striker roles. They need to change, but what roles should I choose... I needed to analyse what I wantet from each of the strikers... And them as a pair!

Support striker

  • hold up play, allow the rest of the team time to move into better attacking positions
  • support the attacking striker
  • score goals
  • passing option central

Attack striker

  • score goals
  • run at defence
  • mobility

The pair

  • goals
  • create space for the wide men


After doing an analys of the match and replaying some situations, I decided to change to this:

GE-1.thumb.jpg.d08812fa2c87d62c6ddab652e4db1e62.jpgChanged my striker roles to a simple DLFs-AFa combo. Swapped positions with regards to striker duties , and kept the midfield unchanged. 

What I hope these changes lead to

  • strikers movement and behavior more in line with what I want
  • DLFs has more space to drop into because of the defend duty direcly behind him
  • WMa getting more space due to being on the same side as the DLFs
  • Wa is quite an aggressive crosser, so having an attack duty forward on his side might benefit the cross completion. In addition the switch might allow the DLFs more time to get into the box for crosses not having to direcly link up with the Wa in build up play.

Why didn't I change TIs

I'm still not certain any of the TIs will give me problems, and as I stated in the OP: I want to make a system inspired by Benitez' Liverpool of 08/09, and I think these TIs best represent that.

Any suggestions regarding the replication of the style of play are welcomed :)

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