The Best Way To Use The Libero In Football Manager

Who is a Libero?

The libero in football manager is a very capable central defender, who has the passing range, technique and vision of a deep lying playmaker while still maintaining the physicality that playing in central defence demands. 

Out of possession, he will drop slightly lower than the standard defensive line of the defence and sweep any loose balls and in the process, thwart any counter attacking opportunities from the opposition. 

Due to the nature of the role, aside from excellent technical skills, the libero will also need excellent physicals if you want to see success in your FM21 save. You can think of the libero as a hybrid of the regista and the deep lying playmaker who plays in central defence.

With the ball at his feet, the libero will step into midfield and try to find his teammates with his excellent passing range. He will maintain this position until possession is lost, then he will drop to his usual position just behind the two centre backs flanking him. 

If you have him on attack duty (Which you should to full take advantage of what the libero brings to the team), his runs will go further into the midfield, up to just outside the oppositions 18 yard box.

The libero should have the tactic built around him, rather than shoehorning him into a tactic that isn’t tailored for him. 

Natural liberos are scarce in FM20 and FM21, but you can successfully train a deep lying playmaker with good physicals into the role. Examples of players with the ability to play the libero role include; 

  1. Frenkie de Jong of Barcelona
  2. Aymeric Laporte of Manchester City
  3. Sergio Ramos of Paris Saint Germain
  4. Fabinho of Liverpool

Attributes Required to Play the Libero Position in Football Manager

The libero as expected in fm21 will require a combination of attributes expected of a deep lying playmaker and a ball playing defender.

Passing, technique and vision should be at least 14, preferably 16 and above while his dribbling and flair should also be high enough as he will be looking to run with the ball from time to time. 

A libero example in Football Manager
Note that “Stays back at all times” player trait will hold back this player as a Libero

Stamina, strength, acceleration and pace should also be at 14 on the lower side. The libero’s physicality will be the key whether he is able to perform his role successfully for the full 90 minutes.

Take a look at the above picture, for all the highlighted attributes necessary to pull off this role successfully

Player Traits Complementing the Libero Role

The following ppms will be suitable for a Libero in FM21 

  1. Tries killer balls often – As the designated playmaker in the side, the libero should be attempting to split the opposition’s defence with pinpoint passes at every available opportunity. 
  2. Tries long range passes. The libero’s high passing range will be crucial in picking up teammates with long range passes to quickly start counter-attacks. 
  3. Tries to play out of trouble – a libero should be comfortable with the ball on his feet to successfully play out of trouble, either by dribbling or passing when being pressed by the opposition. This player trait will reduce the number of times your defence hoofs the ball forward with no particular target.
  4. Switches ball to the other flank – overloading one side of the field then switching to the other one for an unmarked winger or fullback to take advantage is one way of penetrating the opposition’s defence.

Passing as expected will be crucial to the above player traits being executed successfully by the libero.

Player Traits Contradicting The Libero Role

Since the libero doesn’t play like the conventional centre back, most of the player traits suitable for a centre back will not transfer well to a libero. These unsuitable traits for a libero include;

  1. Stays back at all times – As the playmaker for the team, the libero should have the freedom to step into midfield, and this PPM will only hold him back. 
  2. Plays short simple passes – a simple passing game for the libero won’t just cut it. He should have the confidence and the technique to play in a more expansive manner.
  3. Dwells on ball – the libero is expected to be comfortable with the ball, but he should also be wise enough to understand he needs to keep the attack ticking and therefore not dilly-dally with the ball more than he needs to, putting himself under pressure as a result.

Football Manager Tactic With a Libero

The libero is only available in football manager with a back three tactic. The centre backs on either side of him should be on central defender duty. This will lead to the central defenders playing simple passes to the libero, rather than them also trying to play a more expansive game.

You should avoid the ball playing defender role even if you have the players for it. Let the creativity come from the libero. 

Standard wingbacks on support duty will provide the necessary width, and if your strikers are good headers of the ball, you can add the player instruction “cross more often”

Libero Tactic

The defensive midfielder position should also be left vacant because in possession, the libero will move forward and occupy it. Having a player there will only lead to an overlap between the two. 

At the central midfield position, you should have one of the midfielders in a static role like the ball winning midfielder on support duty, and the other one as a central midfielder on attack duty or a box to box midfielder. 

The attacking midfielder in front of them should also be attack focused rather than play making oriented, the shadow striker role or attacking midfielder on attack duty will work well here. 

The two forwards should then have roles that complement one another. An advanced forward and a deep lying forward, work well together. While you can also play a complete forward on support duty with an advanced forward or a pressing forward.

As always, slightly tweak the tactic to suit your players best, as no two squads are the same.

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