Robinho Lazaró had enjoyed a strong start to life in Liverpool, taking his side into the second half of the 21st Century sitting top of the Premier League led by new Ballon d’Or winner Juarez. However, he had been concerned about the club’s £100 million+ debts.
But those concerns were eased as, on 29 December 2049, businessman Seb Butler completed a protracted £632 million takeover of the club. Butler immediately floated Liverpool on the stock exchange, making it a PLC and raising £164 million, which wiped out all existing debt.
Lazaró’s squad overhaul continued in January 2050. He flogged underperforming Russian defender Kirill Zakharov to Juventus £42 million and sold on four more backup players for an additional £63 million. That took his total sales since joining in the summer past £200 million and saw the club’s bank balance briefly surpass the transfer budget for the first time.
He invested some of that money into a brand new wonderkid left-back, using his German knowledge to snap up the exciting Philip Starke for just £19.75 million from Schalke. He also took a deadline day gamble on an initial scout report to spend £30 million rising to £60 million on Roma centre-back Ahmed Viera, who looks like a perfect Zakharov replacement at ball-playing defender on one-third of the wages! And several more exciting young talents will arrive in the summer.
The Premier League 2050s era begins
The new decade began with a huge game in the Merseyside Derby as Everton came to Anfield. And Liverpool started very nicely indeed, having 10 shots in the first half-hour and making two of them count through wingers José Pereira and Guillermo Soria. Unbelievably, three goals were ruled out by VAR after the break and Lazaró settled for 2-0, but it should have been far more comfortable.
The goals began to flow more freely as they went to Leicester and hammered them 4-0. They then thrashed struggling Fulham 5-2, with captain Patrick Southam scoring two and assisting two, before a club-record highest-scoring match with a 5-3 win at Sheffield United led by a Pereira hat-trick.
Potentially pivotal rival clashes
Several clashes with big rivals through February and March could prove crucial to Liverpool’s title chances. First was Arsenal at home and, despite amassing 3.10 xG to 0.93, they somehow drew 2-2. That was followed by a trip to second-place Man UFC, who hadn’t lost in 12 games, but Liverpool put in an inspired performance to bring that to an end. A delicious flick on by Juarez sent Darwin Dutra through and he squared the ball for Darío Brunelli to tap home. The midfielder raced through to bag a second 10 minutes later then tucked home a penalty just after half-time. He then laid on a fourth for Juarez on the hour mark to put the game beyond all doubt and wrap up a resounding 4-1 win at Old Trafford. Now that’s a title statement! And it moved Liverpool six points clear of UFC at the top.
They backed that up by hammering Spurs 5-0 led by a Juarez brace then an early Dutra double was enough for a 2-1 win at Brighton. A big test was overcome as exciting attacking midfielder Jon Azparren scored two and laid on the other for Dutra to down fourth-place Chelsea 3-2.
A 12-game unbeaten run ended with a surprise 2-1 loss at Watford, which allowed UFC to close the gap to three points with eight games remaining. They recovered to hammer Palace 5-0 as UFC drew at Leeds, then a rotated side won 3-0 at Burnley and drew 2-2 at home to Newcastle, while UFC lost at Villa.
Lazaró’s first taste of iconic European stadiums
Liverpool eased through to the FA Cup semi-finals, beating Watford, Palace and Bristol City before an injury-time Dutra strike sealed a 3-2 win at Spurs. That provided Lazaró with his first-ever trip to Wembley to face Man City. His side started well, taking an early lead through Southam. But his players were exhausted and it showed as they slipped to a disappointing 2-1 defeat. Brighton pulled off a big shock to beat City 1-0 in the Final!
Liverpool also breezed through to the Europa League quarter-finals, beating Feyenoord 6-2 on aggregate. That set up Lazaró’s first-ever trip to the iconic 104,000-capacity Nou Camp to face Barcelona, where they got ripped apart early on to trail 2-0 inside 19 minutes. But Southam got a vital goal back on his return from yet another injury to nick a 2-1 loss. They took that momentum into the second leg as Pereira and Brunelli scored two in seven first-half minutes. And they made it even more comprehensive as Southam raced through to make it three just after the hour mark before Juarez smashed home a fourth.
That teed up a semi with Lazio, in which Liverpool came out flying in the away first leg! Southam and Dutra had them 2-0 up inside 26 minutes and Pereira smashed home a third three minutes after the break. And they settled for 3-0. Based on the tough league schedule they were navigating, Lazaró fully rotated for the second leg but they still won 3-1 to book their place in the final!
Liverpool and Man UFC title race
Both Liverpool and Man UFC were dropping points heading into the end of the season, but Liverpool enjoyed a six-point lead with five games to go. And, based on the run-in, they were probably favourites, considering UFC had to play Arsenal, City and Chelsea and sixth-place Wolves, but Liverpool had three consecutive away games to navigate. However, Lazaró was also working with an exhausted squad.
Game 1 – Southampton (13th, away): Lazaró fully rotated his pack for the trip to the south coast and it showed as they laboured to a 0-0 draw. UFC thrashed Arsenal 6-0 to close the gap to four points!
Game 2 – Wolves (8th, away): The Wolves game followed the 3-0 win in Rome, so Lazaró – despite his assistant’s demands to make eight changes – retained his first 11. However, that didn’t work out as his knackered players lost 2-1. UFC won the Manchester Derby 2-1 to move to just one point off top spot.
Game 3 – Man City (3rd, away): Lazaró had rested players for the midweek game so his first-choice team was raring to go for a trip to the Etihad. That showed as they made an electric start with Juarez scoring inside 33 seconds. He then blazed a one-on-one over the bar and was made to pay as City went down the other end to equalise. The striker doubled his tally just after the break but, with players tiring massively, City nicked a cruel 90th-minute equaliser. UFC, in true UFC style, beat Palace 1-0 with a penalty to go top.
Game 4 – Aston Villa (12th, home): The last three games had seen a seven-point swing in the title race. However, a rare week off seemed to work wonders as Liverpool raced into a four-goal lead inside half an hour led by a Southam double. And they eased off after the break to win 4-0. A few days later, UFC dropped points for the first time since losing to Liverpool as they drew 0-0 at Chelsea, which meant Liverpool jumped to the top of the table going into the final day of the season!
Game 5 – Leeds United (17th, home): The title race boiled down to the final day as Liverpool hosted virtually safe Leeds and UFC hosted Wolves, who needed to win to get into Europe. Liverpool were missing a key man as centre-back Herbert Ccahuana was suspended, which saw a very young defence take to the field.
Any nerves were settled by a penalty being awarded for a push from a corner in the eighth minute and Southam stepped up to slam it home. UFC raced into a 2-0 lead, which piled a little pressure onto their rivals. But Soria latched onto a brilliant Dutra pass to double their lead just before the break and a Juarez goal five minutes after the break removed any worries of a comeback. And a Ricky Robertson free-kick finished it off late on.
Liverpool were Champions of England!
Liverpool won the title with 89 points after 27 wins, eight draws and three defeats. They scored a league-record 108 goals and conceded 37, which was bettered by the three sides below them.
Juarez was Premier League top scorer with 31 goals, which was nine more than nearest challenger Margiacchi at Arsenal. Pereira and Southam were second and third for assists with their 15 and 13 only bettered by Júlio David’s 16. Liverpool also had the top three average ratings, topped by Juarez’s 7.68 in 37 games, and six of the top 10 best performers in the league.
The ridiculous force that is Juarez walked away with a clean sweep of the English Footballer of the Year, English Players’ Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year, and European Golden Shoe and Top Goalscorer awards. He truly is a monster of a striker. Brunelli won the league’s goal of the season and Lazaró won Manager of the Year, the 25th award of his career.
Europa League Final
Three days later, Lazaró took his Liverpool side up to Glasgow and Hampden Park to the Europa League Final. And their opponents were very familiar indeed as they faced VfL Wolfsburg, who saw off Atalanta 5-3 in the semis. That meant Juarez, Dutra and Bernardes would be facing their former club and the likes of Calisto, Joly, Robles, Mockel and Cafagna would be taking on their former manager. Although Lazaró was taking inspiration from the fact that his European champions, now manged by Julian Nagelsmann, managed to drop into the Europa League!
Lazaró’s new club began the game well as Juarez showed his former fans what they were missing by blasting home from 20 yards after 24 minutes. But it was an even half and Joly headed home an equaliser from a Robles corner on the verge of half-time. Wolfsbuirg had the better of things after the break but Nagelsmann made the bizarre decision to replace two of their better performers Gil and Joly on 85 minutes. And Liverpool took advantage in galling fashion for the Germans’ fans. Four minutes later, Dutra sent a delicious pass through for Juarez to win it with a sumptuous chipped finish.
Liverpool were Europa League winners!
Liverpool broke the record for most goals in a Europe League campaign, with their 4 goals surpassing Leipzig’s previous record of 41. Azparren and backup striker Tiago Sousa were joint-top scorers with eight and Brunelli got a competition-high five assists.
This was yet another exceptional season on Lazaró’s mission to become the greatest Football Manager of all time. He backed up his two Bundesliga titles and 19 league wins in total by lifting the Premier League at the first time of asking. And added the Europa League to last year’s Champions League success.
This year’s star player was clearly Jaurez, who scored 38 goals and got 12 assists in 48 games at an average rating of 7.64. Pushing him close was Pereira, who scored 24 and got 17 assists at a 7.61 average rating.
Southam massively impressed with 19 goals and 13 assists in just 32 games in an injury-hit campaign. While Azparren scored 17 and assisted 12, Brunelli scored 16 and assisted 12, Dutra scored 10 and assisted 14, and Sousa scored 14. And only five players didn’t average over 7.00 in an exceptional season.
Ordinarily, Lazaró would be looking to be on the move in the summer of 2050 after such a season of success. However, he was keen to stay in Liverpool to work with an increasingly exciting squad he’d managed to amass over the last 12 months.
Discover the squad Robinho Lazaró is working with heading into the 2050/51 campaign by joining us next time!