Liverpool: Not The “Suarez Role”

The role I picked for what would be my “Suarez” role, although without as many goals, was Wide Midfielder, Attack. I’m sure people read the first post and thought I was stupid and that he should have been in an advanced position as an Attacking Inside Forward or a Raumdeuter, but I was thinking of his defensive contribution. He covered well and I like that in any player.

I always liked Dirk Kuyt when he was at Liverpool. I didn’t care that he wasn’t the most prolific, I enjoyed seeing him track back and work hard for the team for 90 minutes.

I chose the WM/A for that exact reason. Most of the advanced wide attacking roles won’t track back, so here I am showing how this role does that effectively.

The Player

Finding someone like Suarez is very hard. I’ve not got the right guy just now, but I have got someone that I rate quite highly in the game.

If you followed my FM16 Schalke save, you’ll know I’m a big fan of Andrija Zivkovic. He replaced the superb Kevin Volland for me a few seasons in and became one of my most important players as we became the dominant force in Germany. He scored, he assisted.. he did everything I wanted really.

In this save, I hadn’t really intended to sign him. While scouting for players that fit my squad build, he was almost perfect. Better than that.. he was free!

He finished his first season with 9 goals, 12 assists and a 7.68 average rating. He’s only just turned 21, so he’s got a lot of years ahead of him to develop on that and improve his game.

I started the second season with Firmino on the left and Markovic on the right, but as things weren’t going to plan, I decided that I’d put Zivkovic in on the left and move Firmino to the right to see how it went. The answer is, it worked.

A Couple of Notes:

In the game that I analysed, I decided to start with Zivkovic in the AML position set as a Raumdeuter instead of being a <hipster> “Deep Lying Raumdeuter“</hipster> in the ML position.

For those of you that can’t remember the formation, this is how it looks. This game started with an AML as a Raumdeuter.

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 09.59.36

The ML position has the following PI’s, which are very similar to the Raumdeuter and Wide Playmaker. I guess it’s a hybrid role. The Moves Into Channel PI would probably refine the role better, though Zivkovic does have that as a PPM. Moves Into Channels can only be added to central players on FM16.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 22.23.55.png

The Game

The match I used for analysis was a 2-1 victory over West Ham. I was watching the game on full match highlights and pausing/rewinding as required. All images are from the first part of the game.

As stated above, I started with him as a Raumdeuter but changed him back to a Wide Midfielder after 12-13 minutes.

West Ham are playing a 4411. We’re attacking the left side of the pitch.

3:30 Not sure if this is a real issue just yet, but I’d be happier if Zivkovic would be at least somewhere near that big red circle. He’d still be in enough space to break, but would give us a little bit more protection had Valencia made that pass. Pretty certain he’d still reach the ball before the West Ham full back would as well. He picked it the loose ball and cleared though, so I’ll let it go this time.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 22.31.25.png

3:45 The first attacking issue I spot in the game, is that Zivkovic and Gabigol are getting into quite similar positions. It’s early, so it might be by chance, but I’m worried that this would continue to happen. I’d like Gabigol to be more in the middle, but the CF/S does like to roam to the wider positions. One to watch out for as the game progresses.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 22.32.25.png

4:09 Zivkovic is sitting quite far forward and leaves a big red circled area wide open. This would usually be filled in when he plays in the ML position. I’m seeing why the Raumdeuter role is not what I want. The deeper role offers better protection down my left and gives us more width. Will keep an eye out for this.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 22.34.48.png

7:04 Again, Zivkovic leaving a big gap down my left. In hindsight, yes the ball is on the far side of the pitch, so we should be a bit narrower, but he should be somewhere around where my big red circle is. Definitely want him on the goal side of the advancing West Ham pair.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 22.37.28.png

7:11 As the move progresses, he’s in no man’s land really. He’s in loads of space if we win the ball back, but again, a bit deeper would make me happier.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 22.39.32.png

11:42 Gabigol and Zivkovic are in pretty much cuddling each other here. This ends up being the catalyst for me to move Zivkovic back to the ML position.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 22.43.56.png

12:30 A little look at the right hand side this time as Firmino, who is setup like a deep inside forward, cuts in while Clyne overlaps into space. Firmino passes to Coutinho who plays the ball into the space for the onrushing Clyne. Still waiting for the Zivkovic change to happen here, so he’s in a lot of space down the bottom of the screen, but not taking up a dangerous position.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 22.45.11.png

13:36 The Zivkovic change has happened now and he gets more involved defensively by making up a midfield five just outside our 18-yard box. In the opening stages of the game, I noticed how he’d come back a little, but wouldn’t really fall inline as I’d like him to. The Wide Midfielder is quite a hard working role, so he’ll naturally help out more, even with the PI’s. Gaya is the left back, but Henderson has dropped into the LB position to cover. Obiang has the ball, for some reason, you can’t see it. It’s good to see how compact we are.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 22.48.39.png

14:19 This is the progression of a move, so have to show what’s happening on the opposite side. We’re clearly pressing and cutting off passing lanes. Tackling isn’t our main way of winning the ball back, it’s by pressure that leads to interceptions. Some people see a lot of tackles as being the only way to show that you’re pressing, I like to think that if we’re intercepting the ball, we’re being just as effective.

In this instance, Cresswell’s passing options are limited. Firmino is closing him down, Coutinho is blocking off the infield pass and heading towards the nearest West Ham player. Even if Coutinho continues moving forwards, Henderson is right near the man infield. His best passing option is back the way or all the way to the other side of the pitch, which is a risk.

Look at where Zivkovic is here, he’s not too far up the pitch, he’s deep enough to be wary of the counter attack yet has plenty of room to run into. He’s in a far better defensive position. No gaps are left for West Ham to run into due to him being up at the halfway line.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 22.50.26.png

14:24 As the move progresses, Cresswell comes inside and does indeed play a cross field ball to.. well, nobody. It ends in a foot race between Reid and Zivkovic.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 22.53.15.png

Due to him being in a better position, Zivkovic ends up winning the ball and setting up a counter attack. There are more West Ham players up the pitch than there is in defensive positions. We miss the chance, but the resulting corner ends with us going 1-0 up. That work from Zivkovic to track back and chase down the loose ball is great to see.

33:20 Just focusing a little on the work and tracking back of both our wide midfielders here, Henderson and Coutinho pushed up to put pressure on the West Ham midfield. You can clearly see the setup, four defenders, the lone defensive midfielder, the four midfielders with Henderson pushing on to press the opposition defender. Zivkovic and Firmino well positioned on opposite sides.

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 19.16.48.png

As the move progresses, Coutinho and Henderson are stranded about the halfway line, but Zivkovic and Firmino are doing everything to get back. They’re not needed, but again, positive work.

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 19.19.29.png

I realise I’ve mainly concentrated his defensive contributions, but this was exactly what I wanted to show. In the first few screenshots, I really wanted to show why I didn’t use him in the AML position. In my first post, I said that I wanted to make him track back and get forward. He certainly gets back and his goals/assists/key pass contribution certainly shows that he gets into dangerous positions.

I plan to take a look at his attacking contribution in a future post. I’m going to look at a couple of players individual contributions and the team as a whole at some point as well. The tactic is still developing at the moment and I’ve made a couple of changes through season two and into the start of the third season.

Back with more soon!

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