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Tika-Taka & Asymetric tactics (Liverpool/Rodgers Inspired)

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So had originally posted a lot of this in the existing brendan rodgers/liverpool thread, but was taking over a bit and my idea is a little different to that thread, so figured id put it in a thread of its own. Hopefully people can take something from it or critique it as appropriate!

Firstly, after the weekend everyone must be asking how could liverpool inspire anything..........but thats a different conversation.

I should also say that part of my reason for pursuing this is my love of asymetric tactics. I have always been a huge fan of them and although they can be difficult to get working, when they do it can be very satisfying. Its clear enough to me that most real life formations are not symetrical even in starting shape, and i think Rodgers Liverpool will be far from it

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Having watched and read some good in depth analysis of Liverpool's 2 Europa league qualifying games, decided to have a go at creating something close to what Brendan Rodgers is doing. Shape and instructions below:

LiverpoolTactics_TeamInstructions.png

Roles:

SK - Rodgers has stated before that he expects his keeper to be involved in the play, to distribute and even be a passing option for his defenders. For that reason Sweeper Keeper seems most appropriate, with some creative freedom, but distribution set to defender collect

BPD/CD - This is one i think it looks like Rodgers is adapting to suit Agger. Its clear that Agger has some license to do what he is capable of and step forward. From the little i have seen, Skrtel looks like he is instructed to be a bit more basic. Its the physical/finese partnership i think rodgers mentioned in a few of the articles mentioned above.

FB(s) - This is where the early days seemed to differ a touch from his Swansea team. It looks like he will be more asymetric. Against Gomel, Enrique played fairly disciplined but still breaking forward a fair bit when space opened up. For that reason, i see it as a "support" full back rather than a wing back.

WB(a) - The one thing very apparent v Gomel was how much Liverpool looked at Johnson to bomb forward. He was definately attacking and definately played further up the field than the rest of the back 4. Whether its realistic to continue him in this position against bigger and better oposition, time will tell....

DM(d) - Fairly straightforward, although this role requires some tweaks to reflect that its almost a mix of DLP and DM - Lucas will sit deep and protect and cover when Johnson or Enrique or even Agger step out, but he will also be a key passing option, always recycling possesion and offering an option. One of the most difficult roles to get right in this setup.

DLP(s) - Seems clear enough that this was Joe Allen's role at Swansea and will remain his role at Liverpool. Will sit in the middle of the park, getting forward where appropriate but in general playing behind Gerrard. I dont see Rodgers employ too much of a pivot between Gerrard and Allen. Would be very interesting if Liverpool get Sahin, who for me is a more world class version of Joe Allen.

AM(s) - Equally it seems clear from the 2 euro games, and from interview, that Rodgers does not intend to use Gerrard in the same way that England does. He see's him very much as still an attacking midfielder. particularly in the second leg, he moved left a lot to take the space Suarez was creating by playing so far up and inside. Again hard to replicate, but by instucting him to "move into channels" it may be possible on MF - NB - originally had an attack duty for this position, but very quickly was apparent that caused him to play right on top of the CF, so changed to support to be more realistic

IF(s) - This is the role Downing has played, but i cant bring myself to play him. The man is a waste of space. None the less, the role was more inside forward than winger, lots of cutting in and letting Johnson overlap. There were also times Downing stayed wide, so wide play on "mixed" might be best here.

DLF(a) - The Suarez role was one which was most interesting. In a swansea set up, Sinclair would play as an IF in the AML slot. To me, and based on some positional analysis of the gomel game, Suarez played further in, and further up. Hency why i have him in the STL slot. He still dropped deeper than Borini, which is why DLP seems the best role. It could equally be a Treq id say?

CF(a) - Hard to characterise what rodgers wants from his main striker, other than to say a bit of everything, which leads to complete forward.

Team Instructions

Fluid - This is a tricky one, ive seen a lot of people say Rodgers goes more towards "Rigid" as he likes to define his roles, however equally a big part of his philosophy is players moving into different positions when they see the oportunity, and other places having the inteligence to cover this. For example Shevley ended up covering LB a couple of times when Enrique moved forward/cut in. For that reason i go more towards Fluid.

Counter - as a few above have said, i dont see Rodgers employing a true counter attack, and i have that option manually unticked, but the mentalities suit better

Shorter Passing - This is given id say, short concise passing is what is at the heart of his philosphoy

More Disciplined - Rodgers does like to give his players a set of instructions and have them stick to it. Everyone knows their role and what options they should have/provide with the ball.

Default tacking - Couldnt think of any reason to vary this!

Zonal Marking - Fairly straight forward and self explanatory?

Default Crossing - again no reason to vary, i dont see a particular style of crossing in Liverpool

Default Roaming - This was one somewhat linked to the "fluid" comments above - Although Rodgers has quite defined roles, he will ask his players at times to move into spaces. This is also one i would tweak at player level (eg more for Stevie G and Suarez, less for Borini/Cole/Allen)

Pushed up D-Line - Rodgers does like his teams to press high, and sit high. Possibly this coudl be even higher on the silder

Wide Width - Rodgers does like to try and stretch the play, although this set up with Liverpool will rely quite a bit on the fullbacks as it stands

Very slow tempo - Rodgers also talks about taking a breather when you have the ball, and is all about slow patient build up.

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As i started to play though a season as Liverpool (existing squad, no signings) this became my "main" tactic, to be used against all teams other than top 5/6. Some analysis to follow of how it performs against lower teams

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Initially, i have found that this setup can translate into very effective Tika-taka. Particulaly in games where i would be favourite to win i found i could really dominate, as a couple of screenies below show:

I dont think ive dominated a game as completely as this in the EPL before with any team or tactic, let alone with the somewhat limited players Liverpool have. Doing it twice was great, and had another game around the same time where the opposition got 2 shots, both in the last 2 mins!

LiverpoolvStokeSplitView.png

LiverpoolvWiganSplitView.png

Had a similar game agaisnt Fulham just now, made it to 60mins without any shot of any kind from them. They only managed a couple after Johnson managed to get sent off for 2 bookings!

Its clear enough to me that the tactic can work effectively where we are up against teams of weaker or similar strength. The next challenge was how to make it work against "bigger teams".....

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Making it work against "big" teams

As a bit of background, i played 2 matches against "big 4" sides without changing anything from the OP. First was league cup v Arsenal, and possibly not a great example as i rotated 4 or 5 players out and liverpool dont have the best of depth. We lost 3 nil, and although all 3 goals were from calamity defending and individual errors, the game was even overall.

Second we played Man City at the Eithad. Probably hardest fixture on FM..... We lost 3 v 1, and in truth we were out played, they were too good for the system as i had it.

So with a view to games against Man U and Chelsea, i decided to try and come up with a variation which could be more defensive, but keep the same shape and philosophy.

Tactic:

LiverpoolTactics_TeamInstructions-2.png

Changes:

Johnson moved from Attack to Support duty, to be a little less gungho and stay back and cover his right back slot some more

Allen moved from Attack to Support duty, to allow him to sit a little deeper, and protect, as well as make the play. This also, i find, pulls Gerard a bit deeper without actually changing his instructions, because there is more space behind him

Suarez moved from Attack to Support duty - again just pulling things deeper, allowing him to pick the ball up from deeper and run

D-Line moved deeper, and no longer playing offside - A given against far better teams, they will rip you apart if you play high, particularly without pacey centre backs

Ticked counter attack - We can genuinely counter attack against bigger sides.

In action

LiverpoolvChelseaSplitView.png

This was the first "big" match with this tactic, and a more comfortable win than even the scoreline suggested

LiverpoolvManUtdSplitView.png

This was the one i wanted, and i was delighted by the level of control, showing by passing analysis below:

LiverpoolvManUtdAnalysis_Analysis.png

Take a close look at Joe Allens pass stats - 100% over 90mins, cant say ive ever noticed that with so many passes before. Also look at Dan Agger who is my BPD - 30 out 0f 32, against an opposition who didnt exactly stand off. Those are 2 parts of this tactic which work very well.

Its only 2 big games, and granted both were at home. But in FM, no doubting both Chelsea and Man U have far superior squads and players.

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Some insight into an example of how any tactic has to adapt in game, and how this one in particular can be adapted using just one example

Interesting game against everton just now with this setup. I started off using my "big teams" approach, which essentially is same shape just some roles changed to a touch more defensive. After around 15mins Everton were dominating, so i decided to actually go back to more attacking. By half time i was one up, but what was bothering me and interesting me was that everton were very clearly targeting one side of the pitch, with quite bit of success. They were set up with a standard 4411, but below are passing analysis, shots analysis and heatmap for everton in the first 45mins:

EvertonvLiverpoolAnalysis_Analysis.png

EvertonvLiverpoolAnalysis_Analysis-2.png

EvertonvLiverpoolAnalysis_Analysis-4.png

Its clear enough to see that they were puting width to their left (my right). Unfortunately i forgot to screenie my own heatmap for the first half, but what it showed was that my IF was spending a lot of time in field nearer to my ST than to the touchline. One imediate option was to change his wide play instructions to "Normal" or "hugs touchline" rather than "cuts inside" or even to make him a winger or defensive winger. However it was complicated more by the fact that my IF, Joe Cole, had gotten himself sent off after 35mins, meaning Borini had to move over their and a striker was sacraficed.

From watching the match, i could see a lot of the changes/shots came about because Everton were playing triangles round Glen Johnson, in his pushed up wide position. Allied to this is that my right sided centre back, Skrtel, is not the quickest to get over and cover. So what i decided to do was to reverse my full backs. I pulled Johnson back into fullback (s), and to keep my overall attacking "options" equal, i moved Enrique forward to wingback (a) on the left. I also reversed Joe Allen's position from the MCL slot to the MCR slot to compliment this change, and moved Gerrard offset to the AMLC rather than AML (more a reaction to having only one striker now).

The outcome was good. Below is evertons shots analysis at full time, and besides one annoying green dot, which came from a set piece where we didnt track a runner, they had no more chances from this side.

EvertonvLiverpoolAnalysis_Analysis-5.png

Whats more, we actually scored a second goal which came from build up down our left hand side. Considering 55mins with ten men, pretty happy that this tactic can be flexible and adapt to different circumstances, as long as you are willing to spend a bit of time watching games and looking at half time and full time analysis.

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Challenges/questions around this tactic:

1) Suarez, even tho positioned in the "offset" left striker slot, plays almost as as he would if i put him in the AML slot. He constantly drifts wide, partially because there is no AML. need to think about how to stop him doing this via his instructions, or possible move Borini to the right striker spot rather than bang middle, see if that helps - i have had even more success playing Suarez as a Treq, although he still moves left a little to much...

2) The one remaining uncertainty i have about this system, about Rodgers and about how to make it work in FM is the role of the central striker. I saw some remarks in the "complete striker" thread around the fact that there are probably only 3 or 4 at most strikers in the world who truley fit that mould (safe to say Borini is not one...) and i think thats probably correct. I see what rodgers wants from his main striker as a combination of target man (be strong and play in others), a poacher(be there for a through ball from the various creators) and and advance forward (to run the channels). A bit of a condundrum as to how to set this up on FM, and as to whether Borini is a good enough player to pull it off. Anyone any thoughts?

Any other thoughts or feedback on the system welcome!

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Try Borini as a deep-lying forward on attack, it's pretty much the same settings as the complete forward. A bit less creative freedom and runs with ball on sometimes instead of often. You could select him as target man with run onto ball if he isn't getting enough through balls.

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Excellent start mate, looking forward to see how this tactic develops. That is one of the stranger formational setups ive seen for a Tika Taka Style but it works none the less. Its bookmarked and Ill be following with interest.

The one thing that always gets me with rodgers is whether it is a fluid or rigid tactic. The players have such clearly defined roles and instruction and rarely ever have much "flair" so to speak. Yet it is so fluid in a positional way, personally id go with a fluid philsophy nd a disciplined creative freedom. I think thats the only way to recreate the Rodgers style and its that what differntiates them from barca.

EDIT: my bad just re read your OP and seen thats exactly what youve decided on :o

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I think with Borini, the bottom line is that in FM Terms, he just isnt good enough to be in a top side. His attributes are ok for maybe at top 8 side, but for a top 4 side he doesnt have enough. I could tweak his role in such a way to get slightly more out of what he has to offer, but that would mean potentially changing the shape and compromising what i want the rest of the team to be about.

I actually fear the same will be the case in real life - This is a guy who has scored 15 senior goals in his career before signing for Liverpool. If you want to be a top 4 team, thats not the type of player you need as your main striker. For the purposes of this save and career, i have brought in Guiseppe Rossi in the Jan transfer windo to be my main striker.

I have some analysis of a game where it didnt work which i will post up tonight (at work just now...), a game where nothing about the system seemed to work and the opposition out played us. I am interested in thoughts of how different people might react to this, against how i chose to.

In terms of the overall system, after 23 games we are top of the league, and have conceded only 13 goals.

Looking at my team position by position for where it can improve, the stats of Joe Allen first catch my eye. He has been consistent, has started nearly every game, but he has only 2 goals, 1 assist, and 7.03 ave rating. At first glance, i would expect more assists and better average rating and more assists. However when i look at how we play, slow and patient, and the fact that there are 4 players "further upfield" than Allen, it was always going to be difficult for him to get assists. We dont tend to look for him to play that incisive through ball or devastating 40 yard pass which sets a wide man through on goal. We look to him to pass, pass, pass. This is backed up his passing stats on the season - 1494 passes with 92% success rating (29 appearances). I think ive seen it mentioned on here befroe that CM tend to get a lower average rating than DM or AM, therefore that may explain the 7.03 (also Ave Rating is very heavily weighted by goals and assists).

The other area is Glen Johnson, who should be my attacking, dynamic wing back. He actually has 5 assists on the season which im quite pleased with, but his ave rating is only 7.04. A deeper look reveals that his pass completion rate is only 77%, which could do with being improved a little. He also has attempted a lot of crosses -127 in total with only 18% completion rate (we dont play Andy Carroll from the start often....). This one does tell me his settings need tweaked, either in how often he crosses, or the type of crosses he delivers. I will have a think and make some tweaks i think, but be interested to hear from anyone who has had great success with an attacking wingback set up, without a big striker.

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assymetric tactics can be really effective - if set up perfectly - i went down to 10 men early on in my league game against fulham, so responded to the loss of van persie by pulling ramsey from the amc role in a 4-2-3-1 system into a flat 3 in central midfield, with gervinho wide left now being used as a support role inside forward instead of the attack role he was on - i then moved walcott from wide right to right hand side central striker as a poacher - so he would always be recieving the ball on his stronger right foot, and this encouraged many through-balls - we won 4-1 and produced our best performance of the season so far

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assymetric tactics can be really effective - if set up perfectly - i went down to 10 men early on in my league game against fulham, so responded to the loss of van persie by pulling ramsey from the amc role in a 4-2-3-1 system into a flat 3 in central midfield, with gervinho wide left now being used as a support role inside forward instead of the attack role he was on - i then moved walcott from wide right to right hand side central striker as a poacher - so he would always be recieving the ball on his stronger right foot, and this encouraged many through-balls - we won 4-1 and produced our best performance of the season so far

I have the same variant for my 41221 (so DM,MC,MC rather than 3 MC). Works fantastically. The right side can get overloaded by the opposition but this is rare and the advantage you get in the short run far outweigh the negatives if you use it correctly.

I often also focus down the left and encourage my RB to get forward which he will do because there is acres of space. I've even stuck a striker at RB because the amount of times he gets a clear run at a solitary defender after having the ball sprayed out to him is amazing.

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Without doubt Borini is good enough to play up front for the top sides. I had a Champions League run to semi-final with my Swansea side, with Borini scoring stacks of goals. 30+ every season playing as DLF(A). Developed his technical and creative side, as well his pace and finishing even more.

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Can you post your heatmaps from a few of those dominant games please ?

Also what are the passing options like for your fullbacks, especially Enrique ? How close are Suarez and Enrique, and what does he do when Allen is marked ?

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I'm thinking Rogers should be reading this after that performance against WBA! Pretty darn good, even if I do prefer my symmetric formations over lopsided ones!

On a side note, would you be able to squeeze Carroll in there as a sort of plan B? Eventually it'll hit a brick wall, against maybe other teams with similar style of play, Barca/Arsenal etc whatever.

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I have the same variant for my 41221 (so DM,MC,MC rather than 3 MC). Works fantastically. The right side can get overloaded by the opposition but this is rare and the advantage you get in the short run far outweigh the negatives if you use it correctly.

I often also focus down the left and encourage my RB to get forward which he will do because there is acres of space. I've even stuck a striker at RB because the amount of times he gets a clear run at a solitary defender after having the ball sprayed out to him is amazing.

Yup interestingly although i dont have it set to focus passing downt he right, the fact that i have an extra player that side can drive things towards that set up. My Left back (Enrique) has a decent amount of assists from a similar thing.

I am starting to get a little torn between trying obsessively to copy what i believe with be Rodgers shape, and making tweaks which would improve my teams chances of success...........i think i need to do the later, Perhaps Brendan might pop on here and try and copy my shape.........

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Can you post your heatmaps from a few of those dominant games please ?

Also what are the passing options like for your fullbacks, especially Enrique ? How close are Suarez and Enrique, and what does he do when Allen is marked ?

Yup no probs, will post the heatmaps when im not at work in a few hours.

Full backs are are on short passign. Enrique tends to make a lot of short passing exchanges with both Lucas and Allen in his own half, very patient, then when we advance further up the pitch, he will exchange a lot of passes with Suarez, usually Suarez getting to byline or corner of box and using Enrique as a "safe" backwards pass.

FOr Johnson, His main passing option is the IF (Was Joe Cole/Downing, bought Willian in Jan). I am not particularly happy with this as Allen often appears to be too far away to be an option, Lucas too deep. Gerard offers himself a fair bit but its one area i think i need to work on.

Re the other comment, still not of the view that Borini is good enough for this specific system. For other systems i could make good use of him, that said Rossi has not been a roaring success yet........

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Yup no probs, will post the heatmaps when im not at work in a few hours.

Full backs are are on short passign. Enrique tends to make a lot of short passing exchanges with both Lucas and Allen in his own half, very patient, then when we advance further up the pitch, he will exchange a lot of passes with Suarez, usually Suarez getting to byline or corner of box and using Enrique as a "safe" backwards pass.

FOr Johnson, His main passing option is the IF (Was Joe Cole/Downing, bought Willian in Jan). I am not particularly happy with this as Allen often appears to be too far away to be an option, Lucas too deep. Gerard offers himself a fair bit but its one area i think i need to work on.

Re the other comment, still not of the view that Borini is good enough for this specific system. For other systems i could make good use of him, that said Rossi has not been a roaring success yet........

Could you not move Allen central so he is directly behind and in line with Gerrard. I think with having him slightly off the left hand side will make his base position sligtly closer to the left side of the pitch. Which may be why he is to far away from Johnson, switching him into the center may help pull him further across. Adversly may also pull him away from Enrique which in itself creates a new set of problems. Just a thought though :D

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heat maps from the 2 "total domination" games v Stoke and v Wigan as requested for DeeJay.

LiverpoolvStokeAnalysis_Analysis.png

LiverpoolvWiganAnalysis_Analysis.png

Can see how high up the field we played v Stoke, so it wasnt a case of keep ball in our own half. Interstingly a little deeper against Wigan, but no settings or personell were diferent so down to how the opposition played/opposition formation - Stoke played a basic 442, but wigan a 4231 so more players between the lines forced us back a bit

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I'm thinking Rogers should be reading this after that performance against WBA! Pretty darn good, even if I do prefer my symmetric formations over lopsided ones!

On a side note, would you be able to squeeze Carroll in there as a sort of plan B? Eventually it'll hit a brick wall, against maybe other teams with similar style of play, Barca/Arsenal etc whatever.

Yes, a plan B is one of the next things i need. As the season has progressed, teams have already learned how to play against me it seems. Also i did struggle a touch when i came up against Swansea ironically, who tried to out "tika-taka" me and we ended up with an even game and a draw. Even the best of formations needs a plan B, especially when you dont have the best players in the league. I am thinking Caroll as a target man with Suarez close to him, Gerard close to him, and the IF changed to a winger who stays wide and supplies. Will see what i can come up with

Could you not move Allen central so he is directly behind and in line with Gerrard. I think with having him slightly off the left hand side will make his base position sligtly closer to the left side of the pitch. Which may be why he is to far away from Johnson, switching him into the center may help pull him further across. Adversly may also pull him away from Enrique which in itself creates a new set of problems. Just a thought though :D

Yeah i think i need Allen in the left slot also to cover defensively, otherwise Enrique would be very exposed. What might be an option, is to move Lucas from the centre DM spot to the right sided DM spot. This might also provide more cover in behind Johnson when he goes forward, and this cover is needed more down the right. It does take a passing option away from enrique, but cant have it all ways! With 2 central strikers, the passing options for the full backs are never going to be perfect.

Overall, whilst i want to stick to trying to copy the Rodgers "style" and "philosophy", the actual team shape i took from the analysis of really one game (v Gomel). Every chance he will not stick to that, so i might not either. I am, however, fully commited to the shape being asymetrical!

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I'm trying this style of set up but haven't been able to get going with it. We seem to dominate the first half but never score then get torched in the second half by lucky breaks and/or shambolic individual moments. It's tough trying to get the attack going we seem to create a few good chances a match but never convert them. I brought in Damiao but he has been really poor so far, no goals, no rating above a 5.7.

Any ideas on how to get the attack going a bit? I'm going to try moving the STC to the STR spot and see if that creates a bit more space.

I'm also noticing my team sits way farther back than yours seems too. I've put on the same settings, basically, from your original set up but we sit far too deep. What's the best way to force the forward? I have us pushed all the way forward.

I'm going to have to put this aside, I simply don't have the tactical ability to make it work. We did ok in the first season but season two we are just getting ripped apart. I can't quite figure it out, Blackburn for example, just killed me. We went in with decent morale but they destroyed us. 29 shots even though I had 63% possession. I saw what they were doing but couldn't fix it. I'll keep following though to see what the guys that know what they are doing can do!

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I'm trying this style of set up but haven't been able to get going with it. We seem to dominate the first half but never score then get torched in the second half by lucky breaks and/or shambolic individual moments. It's tough trying to get the attack going we seem to create a few good chances a match but never convert them. I brought in Damiao but he has been really poor so far, no goals, no rating above a 5.7.

Any ideas on how to get the attack going a bit? I'm going to try moving the STC to the STR spot and see if that creates a bit more space.

I'm also noticing my team sits way farther back than yours seems too. I've put on the same settings, basically, from your original set up but we sit far too deep. What's the best way to force the forward? I have us pushed all the way forward.

I'm going to have to put this aside, I simply don't have the tactical ability to make it work. We did ok in the first season but season two we are just getting ripped apart. I can't quite figure it out, Blackburn for example, just killed me. We went in with decent morale but they destroyed us. 29 shots even though I had 63% possession. I saw what they were doing but couldn't fix it. I'll keep following though to see what the guys that know what they are doing can do!

Isour tactic the exact same as in the OP?

You may end up being pushed deeper simply from how other teams are setup, no matter what you keep your settings at the team want play exactly the same in every game. They do play differently if say the opposition uses two very advanced strikers rather than a deeper striker. It all depends on the opposition.

How are You playing Damiao? Whenever ive used him he has been top class :) Where are your 29shots coming from, good chances or long range efforts that dont really have much hope of going in. The way I look at possesion is that its all well and good having 60%+ but if you cant score goals its hardly worth it. My setups are always centered around the rodgers philosophy keeping the ball and restrictiting opposition chances simply from them not having the ball. But Id take a 2-0 with 52% possesion over a defeat with 65% possesion, even though Im trying to keep the ball. Hope that makes some sort of sense.

Also Welcome to the Forums :D

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I'm trying this style of set up but haven't been able to get going with it. We seem to dominate the first half but never score then get torched in the second half by lucky breaks and/or shambolic individual moments. It's tough trying to get the attack going we seem to create a few good chances a match but never convert them. I brought in Damiao but he has been really poor so far, no goals, no rating above a 5.7.

Any ideas on how to get the attack going a bit? I'm going to try moving the STC to the STR spot and see if that creates a bit more space.

I'm also noticing my team sits way farther back than yours seems too. I've put on the same settings, basically, from your original set up but we sit far too deep. What's the best way to force the forward? I have us pushed all the way forward.

I'm going to have to put this aside, I simply don't have the tactical ability to make it work. We did ok in the first season but season two we are just getting ripped apart. I can't quite figure it out, Blackburn for example, just killed me. We went in with decent morale but they destroyed us. 29 shots even though I had 63% possession. I saw what they were doing but couldn't fix it. I'll keep following though to see what the guys that know what they are doing can do!

Sounds strange thats its so different if you are copying the exact settings from the OP. I have a few player settigns tweaked at individual level, but not many. I certain dont think this is a "goals" set up - in fm i think that possesion tactics are harder to score lots of goals with, counter attacking at pace is where i could score more. That said, i can score enough to be top of the league.

when you say you have your team "Pushed all the way up" - do you mean on defensive line? If so i think this will be dangerous, assuming your playing with Agger and Skrtel, they are not fast enough. I have mine pushed up quite a bit, but go any further and it will be counter productive. Your team will end up looking deeper on heat maps, simply because they spend so much time chasing back players who have been played in over the top or in behind.

I have not had amazing success with the central striker yet even after bringing in Rossi. He has 5 in 9 games, which isnt insane like some tactics on here, but over a 38 game season would still have him hit 20 goals. What settings exactly do you have Damiao? He looks a beast of a player to me who can play pretty much any role!

I still have the screenies and write ups to do around some things where the tactic doesnt work correctly, and how to react etc. Pints and footy matches keep getting in the way!

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When it doesnt work and how to react?

I said a while back that i had some analysis of a game where the tactic wasnt effective, and how i reacted. Finally here it is.

First up, we did actually win this match. Score and stats below - as you can see although we won, Fulham had the better of the game by quite a distance, although we still edged possession, without a MOTM performance by Reina we would likely have lost.

FulhamvLiverpoolSplitView.png

Now i had watched bits of this game, but for once i didnt pay as much attention as normal as i was doing 3 things at once (minds out of the gutter lads.....). So i started to look at some analysis. Heatmap looked fine, we held our shape as we had previously, were a little deeper but not massive. So i started to look at some other things,

Passing analysis

FulhamvLiverpoolAnalysis_Analysis-4.png

First thing that strikes me when i look at this, is the amount of red dots. We clearly had far to many wayward/intercepted passes. Ok, what next, well decided to look at how we did on the other side of the game, tackling

Tacking analysis

FulhamvLiverpoolAnalysis_Analysis-5.png

Again, imediately struck by the sheer volume of red dots for lost tackles. Losing this many tackles explains in part why fulham had so many shots on goal in this match. Combine poor takling, with poor passing, your unlikely to be on to a dominant performance.

Final thing i took a look at was movement, usually we have quite a few runs with the ball, between our fullbacks, our strikers and our winger.

Movement analysis

FulhamvLiverpoolAnalysis_Analysis-7.png

As you can see, very few runs made in this game.

What did i do

So i sat for a while and thought, i could, and in the past would, have over analysed everything - Did fulham play a high pressing game and could we not handle it? Was i asking too much of my players in terms of passing instructions? Are my positional settings wrong and not allowing my players enough options on the ball? In the past, i would have reacted and tweaked and changed about 5 things in the tactic.

This time i sat and looked at it like this - We passed poorly, we missed our tackles - We played badly. We werent set up tactically wrong, we just didnt play very well on the day. Several players had poor performanes, and that can happen to any team. It wasnt a trend, we had won 6 on the bounce going into this game.

So what i actually did was nothing. Changed nothing at all. Sometimes thats for the best. And you know what, it worked. After this fixture we went on a 14 game unbeaten run, winning 12 of those 14 (run only ended in second leg of a europa tie i had won 5 v 0 in first leg, so played kids).

I suppose thats my advice to people, dont always be quick on the trigger to make changes after one, or even 2 bad results. Look at the bigger picture.

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So i have now played through to the end of the first season with this approach, and all in all i can hardly complain.

We won the league by 3 points

Made the Semi's of Europa League

Had best defensive record in the league (25 goals conceded)

That said, any tactic needs to evolve and improve. There were games where we were not as effective and areas of the tactic which just didnt seem good enough. In a post season review what i would do is look at what worked, and what didnt work:

What worked:

The BPD concept - Agger had an average rating of 7.29 and attempted 1698 passes over the season which i am happy with. HIs completion rate of 80% isnt good enough though.

The left back with space to attack - Enrique averaged 7.41 and had an impressive 12 assists over the season

The AMC with ability to roam - Gerrard was beyond immense, Missed only 7 games all season and scored 32 goals, 19 assists and averaged 7.51. His role seemed to suit him perfectly. If there was any critism, his pass completion rate of 81% could be better

The Treq - Suarez took time to grow into this role, but he went on fire mid season. 21 goals, but even better were 25 assists. Averaging 7.53.

What didnt work:

The wingback on attack - Johnson wasnt particularly effective. A 7.03 ave rating isnt great and only 6 assists all season despite a comparable number of games to Enrique. He had a pass completio of 77% but also attempted 152 crosses at only an 18% completion rate. He is a good player, so i think the key here is his instructions.

The complete forward(s) - This was by far the biggest flaw. Between Carroll, Borini and Rossi they totalled 22 goals all season. Rossi started the majority of games after Jan and not only was 7 goals a poor return, but only 4 assists. This role definately needs changed/evolved

The DLP on support - In 2 minds about this one. Allen only averaged 6.99 but his pass completion was 91% and he won 70% of his tackles. I think the ME has a bug with how it gives out Ave Ratings to CM players, so it might be unfair to judge ALlen on his average rating. My only other worry is whether he is truley a world class player on the biggest stage, but thats squad evolution not tactical evolution.

Overall i would be quite interested in how others have improved pass completion rates. I play on very short passing and very slow tempo, so i would probably hope for more than mid 70% or even early 80% pass rates across the team. Would also be interested in how people have gotten a second striker, when partnering a Treq, to be a success.

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Don't rely too much on pass completion for defenders because the game also counts clearances as passes which sometimes can cause the pass completion percentage to drop by up to5-10%. An interesting read. I'm looking forward to see how the tactic develops and may include a few ideas into my own tactic. Congrats on winning the league.

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Been following this thread with great interest and been using the same set up as you.

I agree with most of what you said about what worked well apart from the AMC. My guy (Wilshere) didn't perform that well (I might expect to much lol), maybe he wasn't the right player for that role. I'm thinking of bringing in Ozil or Gotze as they would probs be a better fit for the position. I might tweak the role abit, maybe having RWB set to often.

My most impressive player has been RVP who is my Treq. Very similar to what your Suarez has produced. I'm thinking of making him a TM with ball to feet, see if that has any positive impact.

Quick question, have you tweaked the passing length on individual players or left that on default?

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Don't rely too much on pass completion for defenders because the game also counts clearances as passes which sometimes can cause the pass completion percentage to drop by up to5-10%. An interesting read. I'm looking forward to see how the tactic develops and may include a few ideas into my own tactic. Congrats on winning the league.

Thats interesting - I didnt realise that re defenders and its a prettty basic and disapointing flaw in the analysis engine by SI :( Thanks for the info, it would certainly make sense as to why Agger has a little lower than expected rate.

Been following this thread with great interest and been using the same set up as you.

I agree with most of what you said about what worked well apart from the AMC. My guy (Wilshere) didn't perform that well (I might expect to much lol), maybe he wasn't the right player for that role. I'm thinking of bringing in Ozil or Gotze as they would probs be a better fit for the position. I might tweak the role abit, maybe having RWB set to often.

My most impressive player has been RVP who is my Treq. Very similar to what your Suarez has produced. I'm thinking of making him a TM with ball to feet, see if that has any positive impact.

Quick question, have you tweaked the passing length on individual players or left that on default?

Gerrards main strength in the role was his power and his shooting from distance. He pinged in at least 10 if not more from outside the box, basically he was there on the end of any lose ball to fire it home and also made long powerful runs into the box. He is also my pen taker, but to be fair i think he only got 5 of his goals from the spot. Wiltshire is a very different type of player for me, more tricky and skillfull - I might have been tampted to either play him in the IF role, or even in the DLP.

The main tweak i am considering is either to put the IF on the opposite side of the pitch (just as rodgers did at the weekend - played Sterling on left where as previously downing/cole had played on the right). If not that, then i may reverse my fullbacks. Drop Johnson back and have Enrique try and build on his success by powering forward more.

Equally i lacked "plan B" (high balls to carroll didnt work.......) and to avoid becoming to predictable, i might do a "mirror" formation to switch to at times. Be interested to hear how it goes if you try RVP as targetman rather than Treq, i dont want to mess with that role but i may have to in order to get the best from 2 strikers rather than just one.....

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Yeah you are right Jack and Stevie G are very different. I turned of long shots on all my players, so I didn't benefit from 10 long rangers that you was able to :(

I was thinking of scrapping the CF role, bcos just as you mentioned its a position that wasn't working great. So I will be retaining Jack to play as my DLP (S), similiar to what Cleon did with Ganso. Also, I didnt mean change RVP to TM I just meant assign him to be my TM manually if that makes sense lol

Overall I'm having great success with the tactic, just one or two areas that need sorting but other than that its working well.

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Sorry ramie i realised i missed your question in the previous post re passing - Yes i have it manually adjusted right down to 2 clicks above the bottom for every player.

I think one of the keys when looking at a role which doesnt seem to be successfull is to look at not just that player but those around them. I am happy that Rossi has the attributes to do well in almost any forward role. But maybe the issue is he hasnt got space. I have Suarez close to him, Gerrard bombing on, and also my IF cutting inside. One of the things i plan to try out in pre-season is having the IF either changed to a winger, or at least playing more like one and staying wide. The player i have there most of the time (Willian) has "dribbles down the right" as a PPM, so it should suit him better too. This should hopefully free up more space for Rossi for starters.

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Excellent post this Jambo. Going to try something similar but in the lower leagues of French football, getting overpowered in a lot of games and need to try and get some confidence back in the team. Going to use a variation on your tactic for bigger teams just to try and get them keeping the ball dominating games and hopefully getting a few scrappy wins/draws then slowly going to build into a more attacking variation. Took over a promotion candidate when they were 17th in the National, so need to get some belief back. Hopefully playing keep ball will help, will update my full setup tonight when I actually put it together :)

The more I read about Rodgers the more I realise how much sense his theory makes, not sure if there is a link to it in this thread but his interview about how and why he sets up his teams is absoloutely brilliant, I think in the other Rodgers related thread it is the OP

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Thanks for the comments jimbob.

Not had much time to play or write up (was down in Liverpool for a few days for the euro game!) however have had some and have come up with the revised tactic for season 2. Sticking to the 2 key principles - Tika Taka and Asymetry.

Formation and roles below:

LiverpoolTactics_Overview-2.png

As you can see main change is the fullback/wingback. I wanted more balance, so have moved Johnson back to full back (auto duty meaning he does still get forward) and have pushed Enrique into wingback attack on the other side. The IF (Willian) changed to a winger.

The thinking behind this was all about how we create width. My front 2 are Suarez and Rossi, who are hardly aerial threats, so some may ask why do i need width? Because width isnt all about crosses, often its about creating space, if we can stretch the play then the central players - Suarez(ish!)/Rossi/Gerrard/Allen(or Badelj) have more space to do damage. So now Willian gives me width down the right, Enrique down the left.

The other key change was the central striker. I had said above i was disapointed in his return. I went back to my fav setup for a striker - a poacher on full out attack mentality. Rossi has the pace, the off the ball and the finishing/composure to own this role. I also signed Defoe on loan from Spurs and sent Carroll the other way on loan, meaning i have a "like for like" back up.

So far results for the stiker are far better - Rossi has 11 in 14 (including 10 in 11 in the league) and defoe has 5 goals in just 2 starts and 8 sub appearances. Much more like it.

Overall the new formation still allows the type of domination of matches (if only realy merseyside derbys went this way....)

LiverpoolvEvertonSplitView.png

This one was a newly promoted side at home, but still happy with the level of domination

LiverpoolvLeicesterSplitView.png

The only slight issue i have had, is that in creating the new one i didnt create a "big teams" version and it has cost me. I lost one nil at the bridge although had the better of the game, and also drew 3 v 3 at city after being 3 v1 ahead......thats one of the things to do next!

Also still need a "plan b" - Overall squad is far stronger (although Dede for Skrtel is the only first 11 upgrade, the squad overall far improved with Coutinho, Defoe, Badejl, Faurlin)

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I've created a tactic following the exact same structure. It is almost the exact same a a yours detailed above. The major difference is that it is almost completely mirrored. I also use a DLF/poacher combo with an AP attack in behind, I also use a box to box midfielder and an anchor man in behind. It works absoloutely excellently, I've never seen passing football and possesion football like it, an excellent tactic mate. I also a have a three sweeper variation with three defenders and wing backs which is an almost identical setup just with an extra defender to help cover a strong team playing two strikers. All in all a brilliant tactic , if anyone's interested in the other variation I'd be happy to let people know :-)

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Interestin Jimbob, be interested to see some heat map screenies if you have soon - very interested on how the different roles youve chosen impact on the shape. The one area i am now struggling to make work a bit is the DLP. I did consider changing him to something else, and then make the AM an AP, because in other formations i like an AP.

I also think a DLP in general works better either as a defend or in a deeper "slot". But i dont like the gap that might leave. I might experiment a bit next pre-season.

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Interestin Jimbob, be interested to see some heat map screenies if you have soon - very interested on how the different roles youve chosen impact on the shape. The one area i am now struggling to make work a bit is the DLP. I did consider changing him to something else, and then make the AM an AP, because in other formations i like an AP.

I also think a DLP in general works better either as a defend or in a deeper "slot". But i dont like the gap that might leave. I might experiment a bit next pre-season.

I took a heat map last night from a Euro Cup victory and completely forgot to upload it to my ImageShack, so I do have one mate its just not postable :p will do it tonight.

I did consider changing him from a B2B to a DLP but I think because there is only really one MC I need him to be full of running and just be evrywhere on the pitch, it does help that I have 3 or 4 MC's who can play the role well so rotation doesnt cause any problems. If Im trying to close out a game I sometimes switch him to a more defensive MC or DLP but usually stays on B2B for most of the games. Works so well for me does the AP, runs absoloutely everything, if I see im struggling to keep the ball swicth him to a support role and he gets even more involved. I just like the attack role as it gives a lot more drive and thrust into the attack on support its a lot more controlled.

Yeah I agree I would like my DM to get slightly more involved but I think any more than a Anchor Man would leave it a little open. Im mid season so I dont really want to experiment to much but like you I may make some changes pre season.

May as well just edit the post with my screeenies

The Tactic

rodgerstactic.jpg

As I said earlier a very similar setup to the OP's tactic and the reason I have chosen different roles is detailed above. I will quickly run through them

-Anchor Man: To sit in the gap better and just play passes. The anchor man role keeps him tied to the hole and he stays exactly were i want him to sit

-Winger Attack: I have used a winger simply to just strech the play and create more room in the middle, this is also related to the more attacking full back being on the other side as that is where I need the width

-B2B Support: I felt an all action running machine was the best thing for the tactic as he is a lone midfielder so I need him to be everywhere. Tireless running

-AP Attack/Support: I have put attack and support as this varies. If I want to keep the ball better he takes a support role so he drops deeper and gets closer to my midfielder. If I feel I need some more attacking thrust and drive he switches to a attack duty to get himto push on and attack the defence.

Now for how it performs, this is not a difficult game in the Euro Cup really but I felt the level of domination especially away from home was very good.

Heat Map

rodgerstacticheatmap.jpg

Match Stats

rodgerstacticstats.jpg

.

As you can see a very dominant performance. The rigid CF does help the formation to keep its shape very well, there are passing options everywhere and it keeps the ball superbly, as seen with the high possesion stat. The completed passes stat is another one I look at and 76% is actually quite low, there was a league match I played last night before this game and my DM at half time had played 26 passes with 100% accuracy, I didnt take a screenshot but I did notice none of the passes were particularly spectacular but all helped in keeping the ball. The DM plays very much like Busquets.

Any question fire away :)

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How do you set up your BPD?DO you put him on TTB often or mix?i've not used one before and the default instructions give them TTB often which seems to go against tiki taki tactics.Also are his RFD still on never or mixed so that he can bring the ball out of defence?

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How do you set up your BPD?DO you put him on TTB often or mix?i've not used one before and the default instructions give them TTB often which seems to go against tiki taki tactics.Also are his RFD still on never or mixed so that he can bring the ball out of defence?

I know what your saying about the TTB often instruction but I do find he still finishes games with relatively high passing completion and I have seen him play the odd defence splitting through ball. It doesnt make him try them all the time he usually takes more time over clearances but they are a lot more accurate then my other center back. If i can get on FM tonight Ill try and get a screenshot of his passing stats :) Yeah he does bring the ball out of defence and is encourage to do so, although this does depend on how many strikers I am facing.

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Interesting screenies Jimbob, it does certainly seem to be working as wel for you as it is for me. In season 2 i have the same winger and wingback (eg on opposite sides) set up as you have posted there and it works very well. I did change the TTB on the BPD to "sometimes" as i found he did waste position the odd time.

The only thing i now would perhaps like to improve is the DLP in my set up. ITs a strange one because he gets low average ratings because he plays MC and the ME bug impacts. However this season i have rotated Allen and Badelj and they have 93% and 91% pass completion. IN the DM role Lucas has 90% pass completion as well. Anything 90% or above is pretty outstanding for me, especially since FM counts clearances and midfielders make the odd clearance.

Tempted to give this a try in a lower league, but enjoying the save a lot at the moment! Might give it a quick run in the Hungarian league (just booked a trip to budapest!)

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Interesting screenies Jimbob, it does certainly seem to be working as wel for you as it is for me. In season 2 i have the same winger and wingback (eg on opposite sides) set up as you have posted there and it works very well. I did change the TTB on the BPD to "sometimes" as i found he did waste position the odd time.

The only thing i now would perhaps like to improve is the DLP in my set up. ITs a strange one because he gets low average ratings because he plays MC and the ME bug impacts. However this season i have rotated Allen and Badelj and they have 93% and 91% pass completion. IN the DM role Lucas has 90% pass completion as well. Anything 90% or above is pretty outstanding for me, especially since FM counts clearances and midfielders make the odd clearance.

Tempted to give this a try in a lower league, but enjoying the save a lot at the moment! Might give it a quick run in the Hungarian league (just booked a trip to budapest!)

Yeah it has been. Ive just gone through a really rough patch where ive only been getting around 56% possesion which is still pretty good but not the 60-70% I were getting. A few bad results have knocked confidence and Ive lost top spot in the league. So im sturggling, its the defence that is letting me down. Ive conceded more goals than the rest of the top 6 which I am really not happy with. Ill work on that over pre season I think, got a lot of injuries and three of my top performers have left for AFCON so its going to be a struggle for the next month of so.

My B2B midfielder regularly gets 7's but have never really seen more than that. Im not 100% sure on pass accracy but I would of thought my DM will be in the high 80's. It is a flaw how it counts clearances but it is tough to differentiate bewteen a clearance and a pass so I supposed we'll just have to deal with it.

Yeah it would be interesting in the lower leagues, let me know how you get on. Im off to Turkey for a week tonight so I probably wont reply much :brock: not being ignorant :D

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Yeah seems we are the only 2 trying this approach! Just fired up a quick game in that well known hot bed of tika taka football, the scottish first division.......lets see if the mighty raith rovers can make this work! First pre-season game was away to queen of the south (always a tricky venue......) who were just relegated to division 2. A seven nil win, with our treq (who is basically a converted winger) getting 4 goals.

My liverpool save i am only 3rd after 22 games, but to be fair its a 1pt gap and both city and utd are rediculously good and rarely drop points. We have dropped one or two through bad management, and lost at least 2 games to big teams because i hadnt got my arse into gear and created a big team version of the season 2 tactic.

i cant see much else i want to change, the only thing i might be interested to try is to get a more attacking player playing the wingback role. Enrique can play there, but he is a fullback really. Id like to try someone in the mould of Drenthe (preferably someone better.......) - basically a converted winger in that slot could run riot i think.

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Heys guys. I've been experimenting with this tactic with varied results so far. Strikers are being somewhat inconsistent, but that may just be bad form, and me still trying to figure out what roles suit them best. Do you use oppostion instructions at all?

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I've been giving this a go pre-season with Enrique as a wingback but I'm not sure he can do it as well as he does for real. He tires quickly and his crossing is poor. I will keep persevering though into the season as I cannot at the moment find another way of gaining width on the left. I have set Suarez to roam from position and he does drift wide slightly.

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Heys guys. I've been experimenting with this tactic with varied results so far. Strikers are being somewhat inconsistent, but that may just be bad form, and me still trying to figure out what roles suit them best. Do you use oppostion instructions at all?

Sorry havent been on this thread for quite a while. I had trouble with strikers in first season, but in season 2 i found Treq / Poacher combination worked a treat. It does somewhat depend on the type of players you have though. Suarez is a natural treq and i had Rossi who can play most roles but is a very good poacher. What strikers are you using? As for OI, i never used them.

I've been giving this a go pre-season with Enrique as a wingback but I'm not sure he can do it as well as he does for real. He tires quickly and his crossing is poor. I will keep persevering though into the season as I cannot at the moment find another way of gaining width on the left. I have set Suarez to roam from position and he does drift wide slightly.

I found Enrique did a fine job. His crossing isnt brilliant but i dont want him crossing all that often as in my case i had 2 small strikers and a small winger so not likely to win many headers from crosses. If enrique can be up the pitch and provide a wide passing option, stretch the defense, thats fine with me. He does tire a bit, and i did take to having a back up on the bench most games.

I am currently about to try this out in the dutch second division, to see how it could be tweaked (if at all) for lower leagues. I know some prominent members on here will always insist that you dont need to change anything to play in the lower leagues, but i have found plenty evidence to the contrary. However with some adapting, this could possibly work. Time will tell......

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I am currently about to try this out in the dutch second division, to see how it could be tweaked (if at all) for lower leagues. I know some prominent members on here will always insist that you dont need to change anything to play in the lower leagues, but i have found plenty evidence to the contrary. However with some adapting, this could possibly work. Time will tell......

It isnt really the Ducth second division but I was using it with Montepellier who arnt as strong as Liverpool and found it worked fine, I think it will work without any wholesale changes but I found a few slight tweaks were helpful. most of them along the lines of keeping defensive discipline.

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Yup the team i am playing with are very low standard, they are tipped to finish bottom every season so far, and im doing a youth challenge so no signings. I am having to tweak as defensive discipline is the main problem we face.

So far i have reduced the DLine, as my defenders are not fast and my keeper is useless (also moved him from sweeper keeper to normal keeper). Switched off the offside trap, as my players arent smart or fast enough. Ticked counter attack, as we are underdogs in most games. Have also changed the CM player to a BWM(d) to try and shore things up. The wing back has been given a support duty rather than attack.

After the tweaks, its starting to work reasonably well. My strikers are not scorring, but i need to figure out if they are suited to the Treq and Poacher roles i liked at Liverpool, or if i need to try something a bit different. Time will tell.......

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Yup the team i am playing with are very low standard, they are tipped to finish bottom every season so far, and im doing a youth challenge so no signings. I am having to tweak as defensive discipline is the main problem we face.

So far i have reduced the DLine, as my defenders are not fast and my keeper is useless (also moved him from sweeper keeper to normal keeper). Switched off the offside trap, as my players arent smart or fast enough. Ticked counter attack, as we are underdogs in most games. Have also changed the CM player to a BWM(d) to try and shore things up. The wing back has been given a support duty rather than attack.

After the tweaks, its starting to work reasonably well. My strikers are not scorring, but i need to figure out if they are suited to the Treq and Poacher roles i liked at Liverpool, or if i need to try something a bit different. Time will tell.......

That was the problem I had, strikers not scoring. Although a lot of that was down to them simply not being able to finish. I lost Giroud who was my only real fully developed striker(I have sanogo but he is still a bit to raw to be consistenly scoring goals). Besides from that it worked very well, its the same as what I posted above :)

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I know I'm arriving at this thread *really* late, but with regards the Johnson positioning - I use a similar setup, but with Franck Tabanou converted into a full back.

I play him at the LB position, but as a Wing Back Support, with Cross from Deep set to Often. It's an effective strategy; and he creates a lot of chances by receiving the ball on the overlap and immediately pinging in a cross before the opposing defence can organise.

My two pence. :)

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