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Cleon

The Spanish Libero and the Invisible Wall

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In the last article I gave a brief introduction on the kind of attributes I like the libero to have. In this part of the mini series I’ll be focusing on all the aspect of the libero that either don’t work, hinder the libero’s game or work but not very well. I’ll also be touching on shapes, as some of them are far more accommodating for a libero than others.

Team Instructions

One of the main complaints I see associated with the libero is that he isn’t really involved in build up play like the user would like. In almost all the cases I’ve seen where someone has claimed this, they’ve had a whole host of team instructions which really don’t aid his game. I class team instructions as extremes as they try to force that particular tactical action more frequently, which isn’t always a good thing. If we take a look at the team instructions we can then see which benefit the libero and also see which don’t.

Defence

The only one under this section that’s really worth mentioning is the defensive line. Having a deep defensive line can see the libero starting much deeper than usual. And while the same can be said about the other defensive players too, it means that the libero is starting/staying deeper initially. This means it can be slightly harder for him to get forward as he’s not positioned slightly higher.

It also worth remembering that a deep defensive line in a control and attacking mentality structure will still be quite high. It’s only on the lower end of the mentality structure were this could become a major issue. So if you use defensive/counter attacking mentality, then a deep line might make him a bit more passive than usual due to everything being more passive on those structures.

Build-Up

Under this section we have quite a few instructions which I class as being bad for the libero’s play. These would be;

  • Clearing ball to the flanks
  • Exploiting the wings
  • Pump Ball into the box

All three of these settings impact the libero in the same way. If you clear the ball to the flanks or pump it into the box, then the libero will be bypassed. It also means the ball is being cleared from the defensive areas towards the midfield quickly, meaning he can’t really join play as it’s all happening around him too quickly and giving him little incentive to venture forward. If the libero isn’t immediately involved in play then he will be more cautious, so you’ll see him hang back, not make those runs and he will rarely go beyond the half way line.

Exploiting the wings is the same but this time you’re putting emphasis on play in these areas. Again this doesn’t really help the libero as he won’t be able to help as a support option because the ball will be out wide. These instructions take play away from the central areas and try to force play wide, for the majority of the match. Which is bad for a player who plays centrally and so deep to begin with. It makes play very hard to keep up with and there’s no real benefit of the player going forward much regardless of his tactical settings and player preferred moves.

The key to getting a libero involved in play is to have players in the side who look for him to recycle possession, start attacks, act as a support player and so on. It’s all about giving him as  many options as possible around him so that the role, is properly integrated into your system. The more options he offers the players around him, the more likely you’ll see him do what you want.

I think I mentioned it in the last article but without the libero having these options and getting forward he is just a poor man’s deep-lying playmaker but without the playmaker attachments. He still functions and does stuff but it’s not the things you expect a libero to do. This is why it’s important to understand the role and what it actually offers because if he isn’t doing those things, then other roles do what he will be currently doing far better. So it would make little sense to use a libero over those better suited roles.

The other settings under the Build-Up section aren’t really that bad and won’t really restrict the play of the libero. Instead, the rest of the settings will just change the ‘how’ of certain things but regardless, he will still do them.

Attack

Under this section the settings get a bit more muddled up and blurred. As some of these could enhance the libero if he was the player on the ball. But if he isn’t then it could possibly be a bad thing.

The looking for overlaps/underlaps shouldn’t impact the libero much unless this makes the ball stay out in the wide areas longer, which it really shouldn’t. But the settings like hit early crosses will see the libero bypassed and unless he was really advanced to begin with, which is highly unlikely, then he will struggle to get into good areas to be of any use. Players who start deep have more ground to cover, so when play goes forward too quickly, those players are always playing catch up. And for some, it’s unrealistic to be of any use during these moments.

Those are the team instructions which would be the biggest worry for me

Positions and Player Roles

Getting the best out of the libero is a complicated process because we have the shape, instructions and player roles all having a deciding factor on what your libero does, the how and the why. It’s hard to look at just thing and say ‘I need to this’ because everything is linked. Really it comes down to seeing the bigger picture when deciding to use the role or not and thinking about the way everything links up. This is where player roles become an obstacle.

Depending on the type of libero you are wanting to use, then you need to pay careful attention to how the roles all function and link together. I did an article about this subject a bit back so to save going over old ground you can just check out the article to get an idea of what I’m talking about.

https://teaandbusquets.com/piecing-it-all-together

I’ve mentioned it a few times in this piece and the article before but there are some roles that I will not use when using a libero. The simple reason is they either restrict the libero’s movement by playing a similar area to what the libero would use. Or they take away from his game by bypassing him due to attracting the ball or because of how they drive forward with it.

The key here isn’t what a role does specifically (unless it’s a, playmaker) a lot of it, is down to the space the roles use or occupy which is the main issue. You might think differently to me here but from all my testing over the years and using the role regular, I find that the best things to avoid for me are;

Defensive midfielders

This includes all of the DMC roles. When using a DMC regardless of which role, they all start off in the same area you are encouraging the libero to initially be in. This can cause the libero to pass the ball to the DMC instead or that the DMC takes away the space the libero had to move into. What you end up with is the libero not venturing forward past the defensive midfielder and never really bringing the ball out from the back. Which in turn makes the player himself act like a defensive midfielder, which defeats the original purpose of using him in the first place.

Even if you choose one of the more aggressive roles like a Segundo Volante or a Regista, it negates the use of a libero because it does everything that you’d want him to do. And there isn’t really any room in any system for two players like that due to the lack of intelligence the game has. In an ideal world it could work if it existed though because when one went forward the other would hold back and vice versa. But we don’t really see this kind of stuff on Football Manager.

Playmakers

Playmakers are something I try to avoid in general because they attract the ball. If I was going to use a playmaker then I’d choose a deep-lying playmaker in the central midfield positions. I find due to the deep-lying playmaker being less aggressive than the others and not really venturing forward, this can actually help your libero. It gives him passing options and he also because a passing option for the DLP. Not only that but he can also turn into a runner then, especially if he knows the playmaker will pass the ball to him. They can work quite well together.

I don’t find that an advanced playmaker work well with the role though as it’s a more aggressive role, in terms of how it works and uses the ball. If the advanced playmaker plays in the attacking midfield position, then you might see the libero give him the ball then either drop further down the pitch or hang back.

Depending on what you are actually wanting from the libero that might be fine for you. But I want the player to score goals, provide assists, provide through balls and generally be an integral part of how the team attacks. This is one of the reasons why I’ve mentioned a few times about it all depending on what type of libero you want.

The wide playmakers also make life difficult by attracting the ball to the wide areas and not really linking with the central players who will mostly play behind him. This makes life difficult because the libero already has a lot of ground to cover but if play isn’t happening around him and he isn’t initially involved, then he has no way of progressing up the field.

Target Men

I’ve tried for years to implement a traditional target man with a libero and had it working to some extent but it still didn’t work like you imagined. The libero is barely involved and struggles to keep up with play, but the times he does manage to, then it works okay. But for most parts a standard TM in the striker position doesn’t really help with what we are trying to create.

I know this article is focused on what doesn’t work but I have a found a way of using a wide target man to great effect and it allows the libero to push on and become involved in the wide target man play. They actually link together brilliantly and compliment each other. If people let me know either below or on Twitter, I might expand on this kind of set-up and combination play more, if it’s what people want to read about.

The Wide Split

This is one of the areas of the game that I think needs a complete overhaul. Not just for the libero but in general. The defensive aspects of Football Manager are still very basic and there is no real intelligence with how they play. I can understand the two centre backs splitting but they don’t have to cover the wings as this makes me vulnerable to central attacks. Especially as I use wing-backs who offer cover already. I’d expect the centre backs to split every so slightly or go wide to cover space if they really have to. But not for no apparent reason, other than to split wide. It makes no sense at all, especially considering that you are encouraging the libero to go forward. So if he goes forward and the other defenders cover the wide areas, then we have situations like this;

1.png?resize=474%2C125&ssl=1

The libero is highlighted in red and the two other centre backs are circled in white. You can see that when the libero goes forward the players still stay wide and don’t really compensate for the libero’s movement. This is a regular occurrence and shows that the game doesn’t really have intelligent defensive behaviours, were players really cover for each other.

This sort of behaviour actually happens quite a lot, meaning you can be vulnerable centrally at times and really get stretched, should you lose the ball fast and the opposition directly attack this space. It runs you ragged.

2.png?resize=474%2C122&ssl=1

You’d not actually believe that this screenshot is from the same move would you? This was about 10 seconds after the first screenshot and the libero has regained his position and everything now looks normal. While the initial split is problematic and a cause for concern, it’s not always a threat. However it is still risky and something that I’d like to see FM work on going forward.

I keep mentioning the word intelligence and that is what I think the game is lacking overall. Instead of robotic behaviour like the initial split, it would be great to have some kind of mechanic in the game that recognises there is no need to be that wide as there’s no danger, yet there is a threat immediately from the central player of the oppositions in the first screenshot. I’d have no issue if the two outer centre backs split wide if there was danger, as then the responsibility for leaving the central player unmarked would be a downside of the libero.

But there is zero cohesion between players. It’s the same for other positions too. You can’t really set up to say ‘lads, if one of you goes forward, then one of you must cover and stay back/more central’. This is where the game really needs something that allows us to set defensive behaviours. If we can’t have that kind of freedom ourselves, then SI need to implement something into the roles so the game knows that someone should be covering based on the passage of play that is currently happening. This kind of happens now to some extent but it’s still very basic and this match engine is limited in what it can do.

That’s not really my issue though and people get paid good money to try to solve these issues and implement them in a better system. We all know there’s been a new match engine being worked on for some time now and that should make things better. But as the world of football moves on and we see new concepts, then this is where we really see the limitations on Football Manager.

I’m hopeful that in the future we will see a more robust match engine though that is more flexible. This isn’t some direct attack towards those who work on the game, far from it. We all want a better experience right? And these are some of my concerns and major issues with the current engine. Which sets me up nicely for the next section of the article.

The Invisible Wall

If there is one thing I don’t like about this game, it’s the invisible wall. Now if you’ve never used a libero before then you might not realise this issue. Rather than explain this issue it might be best to just show you a small clip of what I’m talking about.

Regardless of how good/poor your libero maybe, you will see him do this kind of thing constantly. He hits a certain point and abruptly stops even if he space to run into. There is no reason at all, in the above example that he can’t venture further forward and continue his run. No-one is occupying the space he has to run into and there is no danger that makes his defensive instincts kicks in, as you can see in the screenshot below.

3.png?resize=474%2C243&ssl=1

You see this every single time, it’s like he gets pulled back by a bungee rope or hits some kind of invisible wall. The strange thing about when this happens is, that sometimes he will then start his run again and get into a much deeper position and even get into the oppositions area. It’s really strange behaviour. I could take a look at any game I’ve used a libero for and I will see this happen 10-20 times a game minimum.

What I’m going to do it collect all the info accordingly and make sure it’s as detailed as possible then submit a bug report about the role. Despite all of the concerns and issues above, the role still works as intended fantastically. It just doesn’t play as fluid as you’d expect. It’s not fluid in the initial play at all and is something I’d love to see addressed for FM19. Now I’ve covered what the libero role doesn’t do well and discussed it’s faults, the next part will be the total opposite. I’ll focus on everything it does well and much more!

To give you a little taster of his contributions to the team, these were his goal and assist stats for the first season, when I was still implementing the role and working out a few kinks with the team as a whole.

4.png?resize=474%2C85&ssl=1

Not a bad return eh?!

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Reserved 

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Excellent read as always. Actually just got the email on this too. Never really used a sweeper or libero in years since the days of Viktor Onopko on the game. At the moment I don't have a player anywhere near capable of utilising the role properly sadly. I have Dario Maresic who has decent stats but technique lets him down I think. Maybe he could be trained.

Edited by Old Scouser Tommy

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7 hours ago, Cleon said:

Teamwork Out of all the mental attributes, this is probably the most interesting one as this can change drastically what a player does. If you want a selfish libero then you’d value this attribute low. If you want more of a team player then you’d want a high attribute for it. Having a selfish libero can encourage him to drive forward more with the ball, take more shots and so on. Teamwork is the player’s ability to follow/stray away from his tactical settings. A low attribute here might not be a bad thing

Agree... And the same applies to a number of attributes for varying roles.... Teamwork being the most prevelant. Shame you cant untrain attributes in the same way you can unlearn traits.

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Good to see this, something you've been threatening to do for a while :).

7 hours ago, Cleon said:

In fact, it’s very rare that I sign a centre back who I think would make a good libero long-term, they’re extremely rare to come across.

I think this point is very telling and insightful.  All too often people look at their central defenders to do the Libero job rather than the athleticism and technical ability which the role demands.  Love your choice of Ruiz and interesting how what some may view as "low" Determination doesn't seem to have hampered him.  Do you think his physicality and work rate may make up some for any deficiency here?

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3 hours ago, westy8chimp said:

Agree... And the same applies to a number of attributes for varying roles.... Teamwork being the most prevelant. Shame you cant untrain attributes in the same way you can unlearn traits.

When I use a Libero, I don't want a selfish libero as he might lose the ball in midfield. I'd rather him dish it out most of the time as well as drive the ball forward when he seeks fit...

Edited by Jean0987654321

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7 hours ago, herne79 said:

Good to see this, something you've been threatening to do for a while :).

I think this point is very telling and insightful.  All too often people look at their central defenders to do the Libero job rather than the athleticism and technical ability which the role demands.  Love your choice of Ruiz and interesting how what some may view as "low" Determination doesn't seem to have hampered him.  Do you think his physicality and work rate may make up some for any deficiency here?

I do yeah, the rest of his skill set is decent all round so the determination thing doesn't hamper him at all. There's always some kind of weakness in a player right?

3 hours ago, Jean0987654321 said:

When I use a Libero, I don't want a selfish libero as he might lose the ball in midfield. I'd rather him dish it out most of the time as well as drive the ball forward when he seeks fit...

Just because someone is selfish doesn't mean they will lose the ball though. Someone with high teamwork can lose the ball just as much because he is trying to be a team player too hard. Both scenarios rely on mental/technical attributes to determine the success rate. High team work can play a massive part in how far forward the libero goes too. Also what do you mean by dish it out? Passing it around to the attackers etc? If he's passing the ball about then he stops his forward runs and doesn't drive forward at all just past the half way line really in 90% of situations as you'll see in the invisible wall section when I add it later this week. 

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In my Ajax save on FM17 I used a Libero in between two CB's set on STOPPER it may be a placebo but it looked like that set up pushed my DLine up a tad more and it seemed to work wonders, i just wish the PPM "brings ball out of defence" was on 17.

I retrained a DLP to a Libero, if i was to liken his skill set it would be to Ruben Neves. So most of his mentals and Physicals were fantastic. I brushed up his defensive attributes and had a world class libero.

 

I havent used one yet on my LLM save just yet.

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Very excited by this!

As you know from me stalking / hassling you  on twitter, I like to try to use the libero!

This is mine :

Libero.thumb.png.8dbc9453372283e448ff65c33e40ed0e.png

I've posted the tactic I'm using him in on Herne's tactical challenge thread. I'm in the Scottish Prem so I'm thinking around 14 constitutes a decent level for his attributes. Since I took that screenshot his dribbling has improved to 11 but still low I think. I'm hopeful he can improve it as he still has some potential left.

Just for reference this is the tactic :

Tactics.thumb.png.c990d4a983d67169b4b360c45d00be69.png

I'm interested in your comment on teamwork - mine has 16 so he definitely falls into the non selfish libero category. This would fit in with how I see him play. He very rarely runs forward with the ball. He usually plays it short into the attacking midfielder or deep lying forward or pings it to the wing for one of the wing backs. I'm not sure whether his reluctance to dribble is due to his low dribbling attribute, his high teamwork which makes him tend to play it to teammates in better positions, his high vision which enables him to see all the options available coupled with his high decision making or just that he usually has a lot of passing options available and doesn't need to run with the ball. I've also not taught him all the PPMs yet either. Since the screenshot he's learnt get forward whenever possible.

I've not picked any play making roles to avoid them drawing the ball to them which I've seen you mention in the past.

Very interested in the other parts of the article as I've seen both occur.

Sometimes he gets just inside the opponent's half and just stops. It doesn't bother me too much as I see it as him deciding it's not safe to venture forward at that moment.

I've also given up chances to balls over the top when he has advanced and the centre backs have stayed wide, as if he was still in between them. I saw someone asked you about it on Twitter. I've considered changing duties on the centre backs to maybe cover duties but in fairness it happens maybe once every couple of games so I've decided it's an acceptable risk as the rest of the tactic is working. It is though why I opted for a centre mid on defend duty to try and offer some cover and why I've gone for higher def line rather than much higher def line.

Can't wait for the next parts!

 

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It's increasingly rare that I get the urge to reinstall FM, but the Libero always has the potential to tempt me back, especially with the addition of the "Brings ball out of defence" trait which is probably the best addition to FM in the past 2 or 3 years.

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@macca7292

I can see that your Libero is not getting  very many assist and goals. I might be wrong but it seems that your middle is too crowded. Two strikeres, under them is attacking midfielder and under him two CM. So it might be hard for libero  to squeeze into there?
He has very good vision and passing, need to utilize that more. Go into stats and see how much is he involved in build up and passes he makes.

Nice work Cleon, just got back to FM18 with Leeds and my long term goal is also to dominate PL with Libero, but it is for the future.
Keep it up!

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The second part added in post 2

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On 02/06/2018 at 09:41, Cleon said:

I know this article is focused on what doesn’t work but I have a found a way of using a wide target man to great effect and it allows the libero to push on and become involved in the wide target man play. They actually link together brilliantly and compliment each other. If people let me know either below or on Twitter, I might expand on this kind of set-up and combination play more, if it’s what people want to read about.

Yes, please yes! Definitely want to read about this, as I have a player who looks like a great wide target man and I am obsessed with making the Libero work. Thanks!

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On 08/06/2018 at 10:55, saihtam said:

@macca7292

I can see that your Libero is not getting  very many assist and goals. I might be wrong but it seems that your middle is too crowded. Two strikeres, under them is attacking midfielder and under him two CM. So it might be hard for libero  to squeeze into there?
He has very good vision and passing, need to utilize that more. Go into stats and see how much is he involved in build up and passes he makes.

Nice work Cleon, just got back to FM18 with Leeds and my long term goal is also to dominate PL with Libero, but it is for the future.
Keep it up!

Thanks for the reply.

Watching some of the play back, I don't think the middle is particularly crowded. The cm d tends to hold position whereas the am a pushes into the area. What I'm seeing more is the kind of invisible wall that Cleon describes where the libero just stops, despite having space in front of him. As I mentioned earlier, mine is more of an unselfish libero due to having high team work so he tends to pass rather than bringing the ball forward himself. I am trying to get him to learn some ppms to help though.

I wouldn't get too hung up on the goals and assists. He tends to be the pass before the assist, like in this move :1215373320_linkedevents.thumb.png.6b5d0c5633db0dcb9a56af59a376e21b.png

This one didn't result in a goal but plenty of times it does. He uses his high vision and passing to pick out someone in space who can then play someone else in. Because he's deeper, he's often in acres of space with time to pick a pass.

I'm loath to change things too much because the tactic as a whole is working well. This is the current league table :

1870524750_table2.thumb.png.2a49d55e2c685ca2766d4d46fc610a7e.png

I'm just frustrated a scrappy goal led to a 1-0 defeat to Hibs and ruined my potential invincible season!

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First off, I appreciate the articles as I wouldn't have ever considered using a libero. 

I started messing around with it because I wanted someone who would step into the midfield  and would  behave like a defensive midfielder. And just like you said, when you have a defensive mid and/or use an aggressive playmaker (I happen to use a roaming playmaker at DMC), it certainly can completely negate the involvement in the libero in build up player.

For me, that's fine. I may not be utilising to the best of the role's ability like you have (it's amazing how effective the role can be), but with it I've found something that I wanted to accomplish; having a CB step up and behave like a DM while my team is in possession.

 

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In my Roma save which i did the poacher challenge i also threw a quick libero formation, which takes the DM from my poacher challenge formation and puts him at Libero attack. 

 

I am using Nicolo Barella as he has the desired attributes and ALL of the PPM's i want. I played 2 games, won one of them 4-1 Barella did well, the second i drew 2-2 Barella didnt get much ball, but not bad for a formation that isnt maxed out. 

 

Barella still isnt even considered competent at sweeper yet lol.

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On 09/06/2018 at 16:24, aderow said:

First off, I appreciate the articles as I wouldn't have ever considered using a libero. 

I started messing around with it because I wanted someone who would step into the midfield  and would  behave like a defensive midfielder. And just like you said, when you have a defensive mid and/or use an aggressive playmaker (I happen to use a roaming playmaker at DMC), it certainly can completely negate the involvement in the libero in build up player.

For me, that's fine. I may not be utilising to the best of the role's ability like you have (it's amazing how effective the role can be), but with it I've found something that I wanted to accomplish; having a CB step up and behave like a DM while my team is in possession.

 

Why do you need the player to act as a DM when you are in possession? What does the libero offer you that another role doesn't? Personally I think there are much better ways that are much simpler to achieve what you have done. So was curious to your ideas behind it and sharing what he does?

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I just wanted one of the back 3 to step into the space between the backline and my midfield pairing and be an extra passing option if need be

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Question re: Back 3 including a Libero.

I often see Stopper-Cover-Stopper for a three center-back back three.

I will take these and drop the cover back to be a Libero-Attack, because I really want to make a libero work as a hopeless romantic and big fan of Total Football and Catenaccio.

When I do this, does it still make sense to have two stoppers? I am concerned, because the Libero-Attack can sometimes end up out of position and not providing cover, especially on balls over the top on a quick counter.

1) Does it make sense to have the two CBs as Stopper-Stopper, Cover-Stopper or Defend-Defend, typically when using a Libero-Attack? I realize it depends on the players, of course, but just looking for general guidance - is Stopper/Stopper with a Libero a big no go? With a true Sweeper-Defend Stopper-Stopper makes a lot of sense to me. Libero maybe not so much?

2) Does the answer change if your FB/WB are in the Fullback or Wingback strata?

3) If using just one CB with a Libero-Attack, do you typically recommend the CB as a Stopper, Cover or Defend?

Thanks for any help!

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3 minutes ago, Joey Numbaz said:

I often see Stopper-Cover-Stopper for a three center-back back three.

suicide

3 minutes ago, Joey Numbaz said:

When I do this, does it still make sense to have two stoppers?

virtually never, regardless of using a sweeper or libero :D 

4 minutes ago, Joey Numbaz said:

I am concerned, because the Libero-Attack can sometimes end up out of position and not providing cover, especially on balls over the top on a quick counter.

if its a quick counter then yes your Libero attack will probably be out of position. In fact, to indicate that you have your Libero working properly you would both expect and want him to be out of position. If he isn't, then he's just playing like a sweeper and your setup is wrong.

That's why when using the libero you should still consider the rest of your defence as primary defensive shape.

Libero adds defensive cover, in the same way a sweeper would, if the opponent is building up slowly or has most of the attacking phases. But if you are attacking and the opponent is countering, you should be choosing to use a Libero because of his attacking qualities and untracked movement from deep.

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8 minutes ago, westy8chimp said:

if its a quick counter then yes your Libero attack will probably be out of position. In fact, to indicate that you have your Libero working properly you would both expect and want him to be out of position. If he isn't, then he's just playing like a sweeper and your setup is wrong.

Definitely. That's why I want to make sure I get the other two correct!

Thanks for the help.

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Quote

suicide

I always use a back 3 on my long term saves and often I use stopper/cover/stopper. 

But I wouldn't use this set-up with a libero.

Quote

virtually never, regardless of using a sweeper or libero  

It depends. It's not a bad thing to do with standard defenders or a sweeper, but it depends on the roles in front of the defence more so than anything else. The main benefit of using this setup is it can help you cover the wing or get the centrebacks wider if you need them wider for some reason.

It can be risky but it can also be the safe option. All depends on the rest of your set up and what the AI is using. If they're using a 4141 for example, then using stopper/cover/stopper is probably the best combo to use on the defence as you have 2 spare men and you don't need them to be reserved.

Quote

if its a quick counter then yes your Libero attack will probably be out of position. In fact, to indicate that you have your Libero working properly you would both expect and want him to be out of position. If he isn't, then he's just playing like a sweeper and your setup is wrong.

That's why when using the libero you should still consider the rest of your defence as primary defensive shape.

Libero adds defensive cover, in the same way a sweeper would, if the opponent is building up slowly or has most of the attacking phases. But if you are attacking and the opponent is countering, you should be choosing to use a Libero because of his attacking qualities and untracked movement from deep.

This is spot on. If he's getting caught out, it shows you've unlocked the attacking potential of the role.

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1 hour ago, Cleon said:

I always use a back 3 on my long term saves and often I use stopper/cover/stopper. 

But I wouldn't use this set-up with a libero.

It depends. It's not a bad thing to do with standard defenders or a sweeper, but it depends on the roles in front of the defence more so than anything else. The main benefit of using this setup is it can help you cover the wing or get the centrebacks wider if you need them wider for some reason.

It can be risky but it can also be the safe option. All depends on the rest of your set up and what the AI is using. If they're using a 4141 for example, then using stopper/cover/stopper is probably the best combo to use on the defence as you have 2 spare men and you don't need them to be reserved.

This is spot on. If he's getting caught out, it shows you've unlocked the attacking potential of the role.

I think you quite often use wing backs? (I'd call that a back 5 :D ) but yes my comments were a bit too rigid. You can pretty much get away with any role/combination if you really think it through ... the average user doesn't or hasn't got the tools (because FM descriptions can be misleading or outright wrong, and there's no useful dynamic widgets or feedback to point out really bad tactic choices).

You can get away with S, C, S where most wouldn't

My concern with a flat back 3     <-S-C-S-> is heightened if you use a sweeper as the central cover. The stoppers have a propensity to charge forwards or outwards (like closing down on steroids?) whilst the cover will drop deeper and press less. This can create the kind of space that would make an opponent number 10 open the champagne at HT. And that's if you are playing a footballing team that can be bothered to pass it around you... most teams will be able to exploit that kind of space with a simple long ball.

I would imagine you add in a DM with anchor role or something akin. And possibly a wing back on defend duty or at least with defensive PI and good positioning, concentration, decisions etc?

The bold part is a good example for players like you and me who focus on our team committing to our plan (rather than those players who adapt to what the AI are doing). However, if you fell in the bracket of adaptive players then you'd probably be better off sacrificing a CB than going for a CB stopper. I'd want a DLP (Regista/RPM) considering the AI have no AM in that strata to close down.

 

 

 

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On ‎02‎/‎06‎/‎2018 at 14:41, Cleon said:

I know this article is focused on what doesn’t work but I have a found a way of using a wide target man to great effect and it allows the libero to push on and become involved in the wide target man play. They actually link together brilliantly and compliment each other. If people let me know either below or on Twitter, I might expand on this kind of set-up and combination play more, if it’s what people want to read about

Intrigued by this. If you do expand, I'm interested to see if you go for classic TM or use the role to enhance a typical winger/wp.

I tried on FM17 to use wide target man to exploit big striker vs little full back in back post crosses, but really found the behaviour hard to achieve. I had the right midfield qualities to switch flank and play long range passes... just couldn't get the wide target men to angle in enough to be an immediate threat on goal. They got the ball too deep and/or wide and then (because I was using lumbering giants) didn't have the necessary attributes to use the ball from that position.

So given that experience I can see how using WTM role could be really dangerous with typically quick decisive wingers.

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Quote

I think you quite often use wing backs? (I'd call that a back 5  ) but yes my comments were a bit too rigid. You can pretty much get away with any role/combination if you really think it through ... the average user doesn't or hasn't got the tools (because FM descriptions can be misleading or outright wrong, and there's no useful dynamic widgets or feedback to point out really bad tactic choices).

You can get away with S, C, S where most wouldn't

It'll seem like I'm being really awkward here but I've used it many times with a flat back 3 and used a flat midfield with no DM or wingbacks. The key is to get the midfield to cut out the threat, which they should be doing regardless of how you play. But yeah, maybe your average user doesn't think the same way which is a fair point.

Quote

The bold part is a good example for players like you and me who focus on our team committing to our plan (rather than those players who adapt to what the AI are doing). However, if you fell in the bracket of adaptive players then you'd probably be better off sacrificing a CB than going for a CB stopper. I'd want a DLP (Regista/RPM) considering the AI have no AM in that strata to close down.

I've just caught up with your thread today (as you could probably tell from the likes :D) and my first instinct was, he plays like me he does. You stick to what you was creating and improve things season after season through players/development etc and focus on your own style. It's quite refreshing for me to see as I don't see people posting often about sticking to a plan and following it through without panicking and doing wholesale changes. :)

Quote

Intrigued by this. If you do expand, I'm interested to see if you go for classic TM or use the role to enhance a typical winger/wp.

I tried on FM17 to use wide target man to exploit big striker vs little full back in back post crosses, but really found the behaviour hard to achieve. I had the right midfield qualities to switch flank and play long range passes... just couldn't get the wide target men to angle in enough to be an immediate threat on goal. They got the ball too deep and/or wide and then (because I was using lumbering giants) didn't have the necessary attributes to use the ball from that position.

So given that experience I can see how using WTM role could be really dangerous with typically quick decisive wingers.

I've tried both and I've tried a player with both. It was interesting and they all played how you'd expect. However I found regardless of the attributes a player had, that someone slower in the role was much more beneficial than someone with pace. It's because they didn't automatically use that speed and be more advanced than I liked. Hopefully I can expand on it when I do part 3.

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Using my commute home to think on my next move for that thread... Again i want to choose a target and work towards it and show my progress in real time stages. 

I like the way you have picked on a role and been able to show the theory, the different explanations on what the role can offer...the use (or lack of) tactical options to pair with it... And also the ME limitations or frustrations. 

As ive never used the F9 before, and in my view a lot of people here use it incorrectly, im leaning towards that. 

If (when) i fail to hit the targets i set.... I hope its a good chance for readers to learn on the same journey i do. Or in the rare event its really successful to try and see why... Primarily that its part of an overall approach/plan... Not just because a silly green circle indicates that a striker best suits the F9 role :D

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I'm intrigued by the mention of a Wide Target Man...its a role I've barely used since FM15 (and then it was only for half a season and more a case of me naively just trying to fill the green circles rather than thinking of the roles - I can't remember who was WTM but I also had an ordinary TM in the same tactic).

Anyway, my latest Fiorentina save has vanished into the ether...this is what I was going for:

tactic.png.a72fb080c73fb60742c2ec83f0813037.thumb.png.dd46ad8b45c7c62f1d99d8540f114213.png

Standard / Fluid, no TIs, GK roll it out / to Libero, CF move into channels. 

I later changed the MEZ-Su to BBM which improved the position's ratings, but I noticed the Libero was rarely getting over 30 passes a game (with the exception of a 4-0 of Roma demolition at the Olimpico) despite our generally high possession stats, looking at the 2nd post I'm thinking this would be because the Trequartista in particular was pivoting the game away from him?

Perhaps I was doing too much at once - the front three were brilliant (Poacher was 3rd top scorer in the league, CF in double figures for goals and assists) but all the Libero was really doing was hitting his invisible wall then leaving us more vulnerable on the counter due to his advanced positioning when in possession. Overall the tactic still worked - we were 5th, a couple of points off 3rd (but also only a couple points off 10th, my 1st seasons in Serie A seem to be like that for some reason) with an outstanding home record (only 2 losses) and an abysmal away record. Part of it was probably just needing better players though, Milan Badelj had all the playmaking attributes for the Libero role but his 10 concentration probably explained a few mistakes. 

 

Edited by zlatanera

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On 02/06/2018 at 09:41, Cleon said:

If I was going to use a playmaker then I’d choose a deep-lying playmaker in the central midfield positions. I find due to the deep-lying playmaker being less aggressive than the others and not really venturing forward, this can actually help your libero. It gives him passing options and he also because a passing option for the DLP. Not only that but he can also turn into a runner then, especially if he knows the playmaker will pass the ball to him. They can work quite well together.

Do you recommend the DLP be offset, (MCR or MCL as opposed to MC), or does that not matter in your opinion?

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I have noticed in my save, that Barella my Lib, makes all the correct runs forwards however doesnt get on the ball much. 

 

I have both CM's set to pass short and hold position.

I have a Trequartista in the AM slot, but I noticed this hasn't changed much compared to my other formation with no playmaker.

Also, i noticed the AI strikers mark the Libero A LOT, he still finds space but still my team neglect him as an option. 

I have the TI's exploit middle, pass shorter and Counter mentality.

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1 hour ago, Joey Numbaz said:

Do you recommend the DLP be offset, (MCR or MCL as opposed to MC), or does that not matter in your opinion?

Doesn’t really matter :)

28 minutes ago, craigd84 said:

I have noticed in my save, that Barella my Lib, makes all the correct runs forwards however doesnt get on the ball much. 

 

I have both CM's set to pass short and hold position.

I have a Trequartista in the AM slot, but I noticed this hasn't changed much compared to my other formation with no playmaker.

Also, i noticed the AI strikers mark the Libero A LOT, he still finds space but still my team neglect him as an option. 

I have the TI's exploit middle, pass shorter and Counter mentality.

How can the AI strikers mark the libero if he is making all the right runs? There is no way the strikers follow him back past the half way line.

A treq is a playmaker and plays in similar areas to what a libero would and will make late runs, drives forward with the ball etc. This role takes away from a libero.

Also just because you use a specific role in midfield and ask them to do specific things, doesn’t mean it helps the libero be involved. If you want him to see more of the ball then he has to be an integral part of the formation you use.

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Well, i definitely see their striker follow him to the center circle. What i meant by right runs, is that he is running into the opposite half between the cms. 

 

Like i said his involvement doesnt change even if i use my formation without a playmaker role chosen. Do you think having an AM slot restricts the Liberos involvement?

 

heres my set up

 

LIB

CB D

CB D

CWB A

CM S

CM S (hold position short passing)

CWB S

RAUM

IF S

AF

 

Exploit middle and short passing

Counter mentality. 

 

 

Change of set up..

Edited by craigd84
Change of set up

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Update.

 

So I have the formation working using that set up there.. in terms of scoring goals and conceding very little.

 

The libero does his defensive duties well... what is strange is that he gets low match ratings... and doesn't get on the ball much.

 

I have tried making my libero vital by playing two of my best all round midfielders there.. I even gave Leo Messi a couple.. but he never got on the ball much either.

What I have done though which I think helps.. is I have set up all my throwing, free kicks and corners so my libero is sat lurking outside the box.

 

Cleon if my whole team had the ppm "plays simple passes" do you think that would, 1. Encourage getting the ball to my more creative libero and 2. Negate their other creative PPMS like switches flank ect?

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Ah, I miss my Libero experiments, you've hit some nostalgic points there :lol:

 

Fantastic write-up and profiling, @Cleon I'm curious on your conclusions in the forthcoming parts. Regarding the Invisible Wall, I can remember having this issue in FM17 however definitely not as often as described here. Would be a case of once every 15 games or so. Definitely worth reporting to SI.

Kudos, great work!

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@LPQR I think your right about the wall... happening more than on 17. I'm almost done on this experiment. Last year's was fine but I can't seem to get the team to use my libero.. they all bypass him.

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2 hours ago, LPQR said:

Ah, I miss my Libero experiments, you've hit some nostalgic points there :lol:

 

Fantastic write-up and profiling, @Cleon I'm curious on your conclusions in the forthcoming parts. Regarding the Invisible Wall, I can remember having this issue in FM17 however definitely not as often as described here. Would be a case of once every 15 games or so. Definitely worth reporting to SI.

Kudos, great work!

 

15 minutes ago, craigd84 said:

@LPQR I think your right about the wall... happening more than on 17. I'm almost done on this experiment. Last year's was fine but I can't seem to get the team to use my libero.. they all bypass him.

The libero hasn't had any changes to the role since FM12, so if it exists, it exists the same on all versions.

I've wrote about the libero on every single version and it's always been the most prominent issue. I mean this with all the respect but maybe you wasn't looking at the role properly? As I remember doing detailed bug posts for every version so far. I even loaded up FM17 and checked a bit ago and it's the exact same regardless, which I already knew as I reported it in the private beta on FM17. So not sure how you both missed it? Unless you was focusing on a different aspect and not looking specifically for that issue, then maybe I can see how you'd miss it. 

Craig - Your issue is different. Your set ups just don't allow for the libero to flourish or get involved. I explained this above and I've spoke about the issues in the thread. In the next part, I'll explain how to get the most out of him and touch upon some systems too. 

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In my case then can you tell me how my set up doesn't allow him to flourish?!

 

I have two cms so he can run into the gap, no playmaker selected. I have exploit the middle with dribble less... I switch between roam from positions and neither selected. 

 

I'm confused.. can't work it out.

 

Maybe I managed to work it out In cm 17 then.. I dunno but it just seems to bypass the libero.

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On 09/06/2018 at 19:29, macca7292 said:

Thanks for the reply.

Watching some of the play back, I don't think the middle is particularly crowded. The cm d tends to hold position whereas the am a pushes into the area. What I'm seeing more is the kind of invisible wall that Cleon describes where the libero just stops, despite having space in front of him. As I mentioned earlier, mine is more of an unselfish libero due to having high team work so he tends to pass rather than bringing the ball forward himself. I am trying to get him to learn some ppms to help though.

I wouldn't get too hung up on the goals and assists. He tends to be the pass before the assist, like in this move :1215373320_linkedevents.thumb.png.6b5d0c5633db0dcb9a56af59a376e21b.png

This one didn't result in a goal but plenty of times it does. He uses his high vision and passing to pick out someone in space who can then play someone else in. Because he's deeper, he's often in acres of space with time to pick a pass.

I'm loath to change things too much because the tactic as a whole is working well. This is the current league table :

1870524750_table2.thumb.png.2a49d55e2c685ca2766d4d46fc610a7e.png

I'm just frustrated a scrappy goal led to a 1-0 defeat to Hibs and ruined my potential invincible season!

Tbh i would set my libero very much like how you've set it up, in terms of the overall positions each player is in, not necessarily the roles in midfield

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I think I may of cracked it...

 

I have to use a 343 which I didn't want as I feel 3 striker formations are a bit op but I am noticing my libero now picks up loose balls in the other half. He still doesn't get passed to much but it is an improvement. 

Rcm set  cm attack

Lcm set cm defend but during the game it changes to sup and attack.

Both WM's set too attack.

Both cb set to stopper.

 

All my set plays have the libero lurking.  

 

Still not seeing it like I did on last year's game though.

Edited by craigd84

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On 16 June 2018 at 19:42, Rashidi said:

Tbh i would set my libero very much like how you've set it up, in terms of the overall positions each player is in, not necessarily the roles in midfield

Thanks Rashidi.

I've got to ask - what roles would you use?

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I have been intrigued with Libero and I would like to try, but I do not have a clue what I should be looking at when I am looking for possible candidates for that role... 

For a while, I was playing with idea to use this player:

racic.jpg

I have him on my team in which I would like to test tactic with libero. He has quite a big upside and he develops quickly, which I know since I have been playing with his team for while now. My main drawback from him as possible libero is that neither his speed (pace, acceleration), nor his stamina ratings are really high... While speed and and stamina could be improved, I do not know how to improve natural fitness, and this is my main question... Is he adequate candidate or not? This is because I can not afford to by better option for this role then him.

I could maybe wait for year or two to find better candidate, but I am bit impatient to get this started.

If I am to use Libero, I would like him to do most of things you mentioned he should do, except I would like him to be less driving with ball, and more like someone who dictates tempo and occasionally comes in attack to finish off attacking moves. So in that respect, he fits the role perfectly, except for speed and stamina issues... 

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2 hours ago, duca015 said:

I have been intrigued with Libero and I would like to try, but I do not have a clue what I should be looking at when I am looking for possible candidates for that role... 

For a while, I was playing with idea to use this player:

racic.jpg

I have him on my team in which I would like to test tactic with libero. He has quite a big upside and he develops quickly, which I know since I have been playing with his team for while now. My main drawback from him as possible libero is that neither his speed (pace, acceleration), nor his stamina ratings are really high... While speed and and stamina could be improved, I do not know how to improve natural fitness, and this is my main question... Is he adequate candidate or not? This is because I can not afford to by better option for this role then him.

I could maybe wait for year or two to find better candidate, but I am bit impatient to get this started.

If I am to use Libero, I would like him to do most of things you mentioned he should do, except I would like him to be less driving with ball, and more like someone who dictates tempo and occasionally comes in attack to finish off attacking moves. So in that respect, he fits the role perfectly, except for speed and stamina issues... 

I think for the level you are playing at he is more than adequate.

 

It's more the PPMS you want to consider as they can really enhance how the player plays the game.

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2 hours ago, duca015 said:

I have been intrigued with Libero and I would like to try, but I do not have a clue what I should be looking at when I am looking for possible candidates for that role... 

For a while, I was playing with idea to use this player:

racic.jpg

I have him on my team in which I would like to test tactic with libero. He has quite a big upside and he develops quickly, which I know since I have been playing with his team for while now. My main drawback from him as possible libero is that neither his speed (pace, acceleration), nor his stamina ratings are really high... While speed and and stamina could be improved, I do not know how to improve natural fitness, and this is my main question... Is he adequate candidate or not? This is because I can not afford to by better option for this role then him.

I could maybe wait for year or two to find better candidate, but I am bit impatient to get this started.

If I am to use Libero, I would like him to do most of things you mentioned he should do, except I would like him to be less driving with ball, and more like someone who dictates tempo and occasionally comes in attack to finish off attacking moves. So in that respect, he fits the role perfectly, except for speed and stamina issues... 

The main issue in his attributes I can see is that his dribbling is low at 10.

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1 hour ago, craigd84 said:

I think for the level you are playing at he is more than adequate.

This is an interesting line of thought. Libero is quite a specialist role with lots of duties.

Lets say you have a midfielder with passing 5 and vision 5 ... but you are in very low tier and the league avg is actually 4 and 4... does that make your midfielder a potential playmaker?

I'd still look at that player and think he isn't capable of being a good playmaker (even if he is my best passer, or best in league). I just wouldn't play a passing style of football at that level.

 

 

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26 minutes ago, westy8chimp said:

This is an interesting line of thought. Libero is quite a specialist role with lots of duties.

Lets say you have a midfielder with passing 5 and vision 5 ... but you are in very low tier and the league avg is actually 4 and 4... does that make your midfielder a potential playmaker?

I'd still look at that player and think he isn't capable of being a good playmaker (even if he is my best passer, or best in league). I just wouldn't play a passing style of football at that level.

 

 

Yes i kind of do play FM like that, so for instance in my Frome town game at the start I aimed to get poachers with finishing of 10 or above as the average was about 9. I know there are more stats to consider but this was a sort of guide. 

 

I always consider:

14 for top tier leagues

12 for championship and league 1 standard

11 for league 2 and conference standard

 

as my guide lines.

 

So yeah in the level he is playing at and the players age and potential i believe his starting stats are fine for a libero.

 

Another thought i have is... he can play segundo volante so I think he would be fine as a libero, again just my opinion.

Edited by craigd84

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On 02/06/2018 at 14:41, Cleon said:

This can cause the libero to pass the ball to the DMC instead or that the DMC takes away the space the libero had to move into. What you end up with is the libero not venturing forward past the defensive midfielder and never really bringing the ball out from the back

Great tactics, great analysis, although I have seen quite a few people enjoy success with the libero whilst fielding players in the DMC strata. Once saw one with 3 DMs and it had a very nice buildup structure.

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3 hours ago, sherifdinn_ said:

Great tactics, great analysis, although I have seen quite a few people enjoy success with the libero whilst fielding players in the DMC strata. Once saw one with 3 DMs and it had a very nice buildup structure.

How many assists and goals did they get? How many times did they not continue the run upfield and play in the final third? 

If you have a DMC in the same side, the libero doesn't act like a libero when I wrote this. He plays as a DLP in the DM position but not as good.

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16 minutes ago, Cleon said:

How many assists and goals did they get? How many times did they not continue the run upfield and play in the final third? 

If you have a DMC in the same side, the libero doesn't act like a libero when I wrote this. He plays as a DLP in the DM position but not as good.

According to the article I read, the season stats weren't uploaded but from match analysis he was involved well enough in the team's general play. From screenshots i saw, he acted as i imagine a libero to act; as a dictator in the center of the pitch and a provider of the "second assist' (or as I call it, the pre-assist). 

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4 hours ago, sherifdinn_ said:

According to the article I read, the season stats weren't uploaded but from match analysis he was involved well enough in the team's general play. From screenshots i saw, he acted as i imagine a libero to act; as a dictator in the center of the pitch and a provider of the "second assist' (or as I call it, the pre-assist). 

On this website? Can you link?

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10 hours ago, sherifdinn_ said:

According to the article I read, the season stats weren't uploaded but from match analysis he was involved well enough in the team's general play. From screenshots i saw, he acted as i imagine a libero to act; as a dictator in the center of the pitch and a provider of the "second assist' (or as I call it, the pre-assist). 

I find that hard to believe. I probably understand the libero role better than most and know its maximum capabilities when coupled with other roles etc. Also someone can be involved in general play and not do what they're supposed to do. The libero role isn't a dictator role. If he had the role playing how it should, he would have surely used the stats to hammer home his point.

Do you have a link to the article please?

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