Wonderkids and Determination scores and trying to talk down the scout with 20 Judging Player Potential by a measly £100 a week in wages. Spending an hour customising set pieces and setting your fifth alternate captain, agonising over whether your players have the stamina to play at a much higher tempo or whether you want your goalkeeper to roll it out. Then, after digital days that can sometimes take up entire real ones, getting to the match itself and watching, hopeful and largely helpless, as the outcome is determined by pixels you've spent weeks with in training.
For any football fan, there comes a time when they dip their toe into Football Manager. For most, it then becomes an all-consuming obsession of the very best kind—one that convinces you that you could lead Shrewsbury Town to European glory. Or that you, and not Brendan Rodgers, know best how to deal with life after Luis Suarez at Liverpool. Now, thanks to the good folks at Sports Interactive and Sega, we here at the Liverpool Offside get to help you with dipping your toe in the Football Manager waters—or, if you've been away for a few years, with diving back in.
This year, it's sporting an improved interface and far more intuitive than in past years. Though every ounce of data is still there for you to obsessively pour over if you wish—and sooner or later you will wish—FM15 moves the franchise past any lingering feelings of being a set of spreadsheets and check boxes while managing to hold on to its detail-obsessed core. It's still the football game for when you want something more than a simple football game. It's just a easier to navigate as it sucks you in, offering the chance to get your tactics and training and squad harmony just right for that season-defining result at the Bernabeu.
And for Christmas, we've got the chance to give a copy to a TLO reader, which means now you get to decide if you go with two up top or three at the back to solve Liverpool's ills. Or you get to spend a year of real time working your way up from the Spanish fourth division. Either way. We pass no judgement.
To win, all you have to do is tell us who is going to win this weekend in the Premier League and what the final scores will be in the matches listed below. The person who gets the most scores right will receive a download code to grab a digital copy of FM15 off Steam in time for Christmas. To enter, if you aren't a member already, sign up for an SBNation account and join The Liverpool Offside. Then leave your answers in the comments of this article, which will be closed before the first match kicks off.
Manchester City vs. Crystal Palace
Tottenham vs. Burnley
Aston Villa vs. Manchester United
Southampton vs. Everton
Liverpool vs. Arsenal
All entries must be submitted in the comments with the games listed as above, with one match per line, in the format Team (Score), Team (Score). For a tie-breaker, at the end of your entry list who will score each of Liverpool's goals, if any, that you have predicted they will score.
Contestants will receive five (5) points for correctly predicting the final score of a match. They will receive two (2) points for correctly predicting the winner but not the final score or for correctly predicting a draw but not the score of the draw. If two or more contestants have the same number of points, the first tiebreaker will be which contestant correctly predicted the outcome of the Liverpool match, using the same points system as the contest as a whole. If there is still a tie, the contestant who correctly predicted more of Liverpool's scorers (in any order) will be declared the winner. If there is still a tie, the contestant who entered the contest earliest will be declared the winner. One entry per person. Any contestant believed to be posting multiple entries from separate accounts will be deemed ineligible. Improperly formatted entries may be deemed ineligible.
The prize has no monetary value, cannot be exchanged, and comes in the form of a digital download code for use on Steam. As the winner, you are responsible for ensuring your computer meets the minimum system requirements to run the game as well as for any potential costs associated with downloading the content using a free Steam account and for ensuring you can access Steam in your location.
By entering the contest you give us permission to contact you, via the email address you signed up with on SBNation, to deliver the prize at the conclusion of the contest should you win. If the winner cannot be reached within a reasonable time for any reason, the prize will be given to the runner-up.