My enjoyment of this save has caused me to break my 7+ years of lurking! Although back in the Football Manager PSP days, I was posting stories under a since inaccessible moniker!
2019/2020 Season Review
To start off, I was using the Pr0 Transfer Update from after the window closed. This meant I already had Bruno Fernandes which was a big reason for the first year successes!
I brought in Ruban Dias to instantly slot in alongside Maguire as my centre back pairing. Dias is young, but also instantly a first teamer. This meant I could sell Lindelof in the January window after not much gametime. Bailly (after his injury) and faith in Jones, Tuanzebe, and Fosu-Mensah meant I didn't need anymore defenders. Needing a right winger, but not wanting to break the bank yet for Sancho, I managed to gte Douglas Costa on loan for simply covering his wages. He was incredible, and in first season notched up 21 goals and 11 assists. I also brought in Alex Telles as first choice LB and kept Shaw as backup, though he left in January after Telles became the first name on the teamsheet. Telles had an incredible season being in TOTY, whilst getting a terrific 18 assists in all competitions.
In January, I brought in Everton as a tricky winger to complement Rashford, James, and the increasing demands of the fixture list with our good run in Europe. A deal for Blaise Matuidi was also struck on a free, but injuries to McTominay, having already sold Matic, meant I needed to fork out to get him straight away. It said it would cost £6 million, so I'm not sure how I got shortchanged for £16.5 million! Perhaps I should've gone to Spec...
The usual lineup consisted of a 4-2-3-1. There was a lot of rotation, with us using nearly 30 players during the season, and that meant we maintained a terrific amount of consistency, almost looking like the real life Liverpool team with our first couple of months fixtures. Then, things started to get difficult with a series of draws and losses that made the league table a lot closer than it first seemed like it would be. A very interchangeable front-line kept the goals flowing, with Rashford (28 goals), Martial (16 goals), James (9 goals), Costa (21 goals), and my personal favourite, Greenwood (29 goals), all contributing significantly in all competitions.
The Europa League also saw us coast to victory,with only the final really posing any difficulty. A Carabao Cup win with an easy run, with the exception of a 4-4 with Liverpool going down to penalties, also lined the trophy cabinets. The FA Cup saw us knocked out by eventual winners Liverpool on penalties in the quarter finals.
2020/2021 Season Preview
Lautaro Martinez was the big summer signing, with us wanting a more consistent striker, with the idea that Martial and Rashford might spend more time on the wings now Costa had gone back to Juve. Martinez did break his arm though, and before a game had been played faces 7 weeks out.
Leon Bailey was my first choice having scouted him for several months. His more reasonable price and wages, as well as a good first season meant he came in for a cool £80 million, funded by the sales of Andreas, Lingard, Mata and Rojo. Bellingham was brought in for the future, and instantly loaned back out again. That was all the business until deadline day, when another injury to McTominay forced me to look at our options for a 3 man (2 x CM and an AM) midfield. Only Pogba, Matuidi, Fernandes, and some unready youth players, not providing enough of a selection. Deadline day scrambling got Dani Cebellos on loan, james Ward-Prowse for a reasonable £36 million (to replace some of our sold home grown prospects) and the return of Douglas Costa on loan again - this time for a bargain 40% of his wages!
So far, we've lost the Community Shield and Super Cup to FA Cup and Champions League winners Liverpool, who have added Paulo Dybala, Leroy Sane, Alex Grimaldo, Arkadiusz Milik to their already deadly squad. Carl Ancelotti's Manchester City have brought in Lukaku, Chilwell, and Depay having sacked Guardiola following his 2nd place finish in the league. Mourinho's Spurs, who started the first season really well have only add Lorenzo Pellegrini so may struggle. Chelsea have had the busiest window, bringing in James Rodriquez, Federico Chiesa, Federico Bernardeschi, Florentino Luis, and Dani Carvajal!
And Arsenal? Well, they finished 8th, sacking Arteta, and bringing in legend Viera to rule the roost. He has brought in Jesse Lingard, Allan, Thauvin, and Idrissa Gueye, to complement Arteta's only big signing Wilfried Zaha (who is now transfer listed by request).