Football Manager 2021: Libero role explained and the best options

By Squawka News

Published: 14:00, 27 January 2021

The evolution of the Football Manager games has brought a lot of previously unknown, or forgotten, terms back into the world’s biggest sport, including that of the Libero role.

Libero is by no means a new term and is often confined to football nostalgia, synonymous with players like Franz Beckenbauer and Ronald Koeman. But the highly fluid position can be used to great, almost devastating, effect on Football Manager if utilised correctly.

What is a Libero?

The Libero role is fairly similar to the more well-known sweeper; a versatile type of defender who can sweep up the ball if the opponent managers to breach the defensive line, playing between the centre-backs and the goalkeeper.

It was popularised by Italian managers Nereo Rocco and Helenio Herrera, with their use of the catenaccio style of play. Libero translates to “free” in Italian, and was coined from the phrase “libero da impegni di marcatura” or “free from man-marking tasks”.

What makes the role so unique, however, is that when possession has been won, the Libero has license to push forward and slot into the midfield, even going as far as to contribute in attacking phases of play.

How to use the Libero in Football Manager 2021

You would use a Libero in a back three of back five system and it’s a role on Football Manager that can be fantastic if deployed correctly. Football Manager explains that the job of a Libero is to drop behind the defensive line, aim to sweep up through balls, pick up extra attackers and make goal-saving tackles, blocks and interceptions.

Football Manager 2021: Libero role explained and the best options

Naturally, a Libero must have excellent levels of fitness to cover so much ground. They must also be defensively competent to snuffle out danger and anticipate threatening balls over the top, but also technically adept if they are to operate in midfield and even pose a threat in the final third.

As the role requires fluid movement depending on the in-game scenario, it is best to deploy a Libero centrally as part of a back-three. It may be worth setting their role to ‘attack’ so they naturally push up and become more involved in attacking transitions.

But what attributes would make for a good Libero?

Football Manager 2021: Libero role explained and the best options

In Football Manager, it highlights first touch, marking, passing, decisions, positioning, pace and a few more as key attributes for a good Libero. A number of secondary attributes are also highlighted in-game including dribbling, heading, technique, bravery, flair, agility, balance, jumping reach, stamina and strength.

It’s one of the more demanding roles in game if you are hoping to utilise it properly, and requires a specific set of players.

Football Manager 2021: Best Liberos

  • Virgil van Dijk
  • Fabinho
  • Joe Gomez
  • Aymeric Laporte
  • Sergio Ramos
  • Leonardo Bonucci
  • Efe Ambrose