Project Red Wine – A FM15 Story About Liverpool
Hello folks! I hope you had fun reading the first part of my Football Manager 2015 Project Red Wine series, where I manage Liverpool FC. In the previous chapter we saw the side was set up and how the summer transfer window yielded some good finds for the future.
Hairy Potter, a relatively unknown personality originating from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, has transformed the Liverpool side into a surprise performer during the first season. Implementing a defensive philosophy while developing the current club players, Potter’s magic has permeated into the culture of the side housed at Anfield. Let’s see what trophies were brought in by Liverpool’s magical form.
Back to the top after 24 years of waiting! We won the Premiership by two points over the Red Devils bringing the long coveted crown back to Anfield! After a twenty four season drought, we finally did it! But it wasn’t without bumps in the road. The team settled into the philosophy and tactics around ten games into the season. A run of 27 unbeaten games in the Premiership was not so bad.
As for other competitions, The Reds fell to Tottenham 1-0 in the FA Cup final which was a disappointment for Potter. Cap One Cup was used to field in the young guns like Ibe, Rossiter, Sinclair, Flannagan and Dhanda. Reaching the semis, the kids bowed down to Man City 4-1. We could have pushed it and used more senior squad players but match congestion held us back. We did not want to be hobbled by more injuries. A sound decision in hindsight.
The Champion’s Cup was a different monster altogether. The team was in great spirits after squeaking past the group stage with Bayern lording it over. An unlucky draw saw us matched against Juventus for the 1st KO Round. The first leg at the magical grounds of Anfield saw us up 2-1. We were dominated in Italy not by the whole team but by one, Andrea Pirlo. The future hall of famer netted two goals with a rating of 9.0. Poor form by Lambert, Skrtel and Lovren was a pain in the neck. Coutinho was the bright spot with a fantastic overall game. Sturridge opened the scoring in the 14th. The rest was all Juve until Markovic rallied to hit one in the 114th. Very painful defeat but a gallant effort against a stronger and more experienced side. But just like wine, we will get better as the team ages and plays more games together.
As discussed in the first part, our transfer policy will generally be players coming in ages between 17 and 24. I made an exception for the Bosman signing of Khedira who will serve as a tutor for our promising midfielders Rossiter, Dhanda, Kane and Philips. I also said that I will retain the current group of players and work them into the philosophy. Emre Can had a problem with my team talks though and had requested to leave. So I had to bring out my magic wand and Avada Kedavra him to SLB on loan with a future fee of 14.5M. Valued at 10.5M at the time of the transfer, I saw that his issue with my team talk was creating destabilization within the squad. He just had to go.
As a replacement, transfer listed Asier Illaramendi stepped in to pull the strings from his DLP-S DM strata post. He did not exactly blow away the whole world with his stats. But for someone being worked into a rotation, and was out of fitness for the first five games, I was happy with his performances. My DLP basically collects the ball and distributes to more advanced magicians like Coutinho and Sterling. His pass completion was where it should have been. Tackle ratio looks sound although I would have wanted less mistakes. What struck me here was his interceptions stat. In such a few games, he did pretty well around 6.7 interceptions per game.
Future transfers are Pacheco (free) as my back up keeper, Lucas Silva (7.5M) and Sami Khedira (free) all from Real Madrid. All of my transfers were transfer listed players or bargain purchases. Smart buys like these will help finance my road to producing the best players either for my consumption or for sales. Fees paid for my products will either be used to upgrade facilities, wages for the best staff, or purchasing young raw talent to be developed. I will either make money off them directly or make money out of their products (tutors) when the time is right.
Vallejo purchased at 1.1M now valued at 2M. Fernando Pacheco now at 120K. Lucas Silva now at 14.25M. Sami Khedira 1.1M. Asier Illaramendi purchased at 4.3M now at 9.75M. Oh and I forgot I purchased Kristofer Ajer for 900K as a part of all my saves. We shall see if they bring real value to the team by performing next year.
Looking at the Net Transfer spent for last season, The Reds spent around 12.5M overall. 500K of those are probably from the staff transfer costs. I poached a lot of scouts early on to serve as the engine for my player recruitment. Looking at the current value of the players we purchased, we can validate that we have already made a sizable profit.
At this point, we shall discuss progression. What’s next for the Red Wine Project? Having attained supremacy in the EPL, I believe we can work towards sustaining this form moving forward with a healthy team. I shall still stick to my main tactic but have started to develop a different formation as a back up.I shall discuss that later on in the save after further testing though.
Looking at the current squad, Sterling and Coutinho are cornerstones of this group. I see them as a lock for the AMC and AML posts. For our MC position, Joe Allen served us well having fantastic form after averaging 7.8 in the FA Cup, 7.03 in the EPL, and 7.05 in the ECL He looks to have embraced his role at the center of the pitch and will be a lock there. As discussed above, Illaramendi will be my DM rotating with Khedira. In the left wingback post, I will have Moreno start there full time with Enrique as a backup. If Jose doesn’t moan about lack of playing time and request to leave, I will not ship him out. On the right, I have Markovic as my top option. Hopefully Glen Johnson is content warming the pine with his 97K/week wage. Prospect here is Ryan McLaughlin who was fantastic with Derby on loan. Mignolet will still be my keeper with Pacheco backing him up.
The next few positions are my dilemma. Sakho looks to be a lock as my left central defender. The right side is a different story. Skrtel and Lovren are competing for this post. Skrtel is thirty one years old and is at the tail end of his career. Lovren, younger doesn’t provide the speed I need in my central defense pairing. Flannagan who I trained as a central defender still has not fully grown into the position and is also quite slow. I know I have Vallejo joining but I feel he is too young to be awarded a starting gig to fill my need. I will see inconsistent performances if that were to happen. I have Llori who will be returning from loan and looks like he has some pace on his knees but his 6.62 performance on loan does not look promising. Wisdom coming from the freshly relegated West Brom team, averaged 6.8 has some pace as well. Coates is as slow as Lovren and averaged 6.64 at Sunderland. So many options but none fitting the need. This may very well be my top priority in the transfer window.
Next up are my two strikers. I have an aging Ricky Lambert who scored thirteen goals in twenty four games. Balo scored twenty in thirty eight starts. Sturridge had twenty one starts and twelve goals. Henderson was converted into a striker to fill my need and also as an experiment/tutor. Six goals in thirteen appearances as a striker. Although he appeared in thirty three games overall, the only time he scored was when played as a striker. I have some youth here with Sinclair, Ibe and Wilson all able to play the position. Nobody fits what I need though. Hence, I have brought in Lucas Silva. This will still be experimental like Hendo, but I feel I have found a perfect match in Silva. I will update everyone on this when the time comes. Ajer was also brought in as a longer term project similar to how I utilized him in my Milan save.
Overall, it has been a fruitful season and I see that Hairy Potter fully deserving his EPL Manager of the Year award. I look to continue my successful conquest of England and hopefully progress to dominating Europe. I shall update everyone after the transfer window. Thank you for reading and hope you had fun! Shalom!