The American Gerrard: Rating FIFA’s Ratings

For this week’s article of The American Gerrard I wanted to do something special for the global release of FIFA21 so I decided to go over Liverpool’s player ratings in the newest installment of the giant football gaming franchise.

FIFA History 101

Every year, shortly after the season kicks off, EA releases the newest version of the FIFA video game franchise. This week the game was officially debuted. Included with updated game play, fans across the globe clamor to see the newest ratings for their Footballing favorites featured in the freshest release.

For those unfamiliar how FIFA ratings work, allow me to explain: Every player in the game is given an overall rating of 1-100 with the majority of players within the game taking residence in the 55-85 areas. These ratings are based on averages composed of key areas for each position including Pace, Shot, Pass, Dribble, Defense. and Physical.

The lowest ever rating was actually 25 with Ian Baraclough back in FIFA10. Hilariously, he had above average shot equal to even some of the top Premier League forwards.  He was absolutely terrible at everything else.

Typically, good performances in the previous season will see a player’s rating improve. Equally, poor displays or a season plagued with injury could see a player’s rating drop.

As a Liverpool fan, I have seen the Liverpool squad be denied deserved rating upgrades on multiple occasions over the last decade or so. While under-performing-but-incredibly-hyped players on some squads have received and maintained ridiculously high ratings with no performances, statistics, or achievements backing these claims (see:  Manchester United). Over the last few seasons’ accomplishments, there could be no denying Liverpool players’ rise in ratings.

There has been a few hiccups and hindsights – even in the last few seasons some of our best players have been denied a proper ratings upgrade. However, after last season’s record-breaking storm of the Premier League title, as well as the acquisition of the Super Cup and Club World Cup, many fans expected ratings increases among the Reds. We were not disappointed!

This year 11 Liverpool players made FIFA21’s 100 highest-rated FIFA21 players. Three players even made the Top 10!

A Love-Hate Relationship

I will not sugarcoat this for you – I am going into this article with a chip on my shoulder. In the past I have been frustrated with EA doing my boys dirty. There were a few seasons in a row where an injury-prone Paul Pogba was rated higher than either Mo or Mane. That alone undermines all credibility in my mind. Bruno Fernandes is already one of the best midfielders in the league after scoring a few floppy penalties? Despite these atrocities, I will attempt to do my best to provide an unbiased review of FIFA21’s Liverpool squad ratings.

In order to properly analyze the players’ stats I decided to compare the original FIFA Ultimate Team cards for the starting lineup from FIFA21 and FIFA20. Using the FUT cards would keep things simple and save me from writing a page on each player.

Do you think EA got the player ratings correct this season? Check out our starting eleven below:

Liverpool Player Ratings

Sadio Mane

FIFA21 Rating: 90

Last Year: 88

Sadio Mane started FIFA20 with an 88 rating. After asserting himself as one of Europe’s top forwards, he was rewarded with an upgrade to 90. Currently Mane is ranked as the 10th best player in the game (not including Legends). This season Mane received upgrades in his Shooting (+2), Passing (+3), Dribbling (+2), and Physical (+2). I think Mane has earned an upgrade to 90 unquestionably. I really shouldn’t have started this with Mane because for a rare moment I actually agree with EA. Well played EA… for now.

Roberto Firmino

FIFA21 Rating: 87

Last Year: 86

This season Firmino’s rating has received mixed reactions. Overall he received a +1 but some of the changes to his stats raise questions. I am a huge Bobby Firmino fan – I love the way he plays, because for me he  is the ultimate player that could fit in every position on the field except goal keeper. That being clarified, last season was not exactly Bobby’s best in terms of goal output, which has led to -2 to his Shot rating. On the brighter side, his brilliant hold up play and work on the ball has lead to a +3 increase to his Dribbling Skills. He’s even been given a five-star Skills rating, allowing Bobby to perform some of the more challenging skill moves. They always screw him on the Pace though.

Mohamed Salah

FIFA21 Rating: 90

Last Year: 90

Mo has pretty much stayed the same which sounds about right. During the 18/19 season he scored more goals – 22 compared to last season’s 19 (though he did have more assists in 19/20). I suppose wining the league automatically gets you bonus points. Some critical fans might say he deserves a downgrade, but not me. After all, he was still Liverpool’s top scorer last season, and we we won the league for the first time in 30 years. To the naked eye his stats look the same as last year but he actually improved in both Dribbling (+1) and Physical (+1). Mo is ranked right above Mane as the ninth best player in the game only behind Big Virg as far as Liverpool players are concerned.

Georginio Wijnaldum

FIFA21 Rating: 85

Last Year: 84

Gini is often considered one of Liverpool’s most underrated players. Although I think Gini is a good player, there are times when his style of play is not suited to certain opponents, and he tends to blend in with the background. This can happen with any one of our players, though I feel it happens a bit more with Gini, which is responsible for his underrated reputation. Overall, I think 85 is a fair rating. This season Gini received upgrades in his Shot (+1), Pass (+4), Dribble (+2), Defense (+1) and Physical (+2). When you look at his stats it doesn’t make a ton of sense where Gini got upgraded in my opinion. For example, Gini’s passing got a four-point bump, but his accuracy between the two seasons was only marginally different, and compared to last season he actually had fewer chances created and key passes this season. I will take any upgrade I can get on LFC players, but maybe EA should do their stat research a bit more when deciding which stats to upgrade.

Jordan Henderson

FIFA21 Rating: 86

Last Year: 83

There are a large number of FIFA fans unhappy with Jordan Henderson’s player rating this season. Realistically, I could not be happier. Perhaps he could use a bit more Pace. Prior to the pandemic shutdown, Hendo was the favorite to win the Premier League’s player of the season. If you do not think he deserves an upgrade on his previous rating, you must not have watched a Liverpool match last season. Hendo’s importance to the team was highlighted not only when he was on the pitch, but also (especially) in the games in which he did not feature. This season Henderson received upgrades in every category:  Pace (+1), Shot (+4), Passing (+1), Dribbling (+2), Defense (+3) and Physical (+2). Last season Henderson managed four goals and five assists compared to the previous season (one and three, respectively). Henderson may not score a ton of goals, but he is all over the pitch and contributes to making them happen, with 27 key passes and 32 chances created compared to 15 key passes and 18 chances in the previous season.  Henderson deserves an upgrade and regardless of what anyone says, he is way better then Pogba.

Fabinho

FIFA21 Rating: 87

Last Year: 85

Despite some poor performances after the restart, Fabinho had an excellent season for Liverpool football club which is reflected in his +2 upgrade overall. Funnily enough, Fabinho only received an upgrade in his passing skills (+1). His pace was actually downgraded as well (-1). I would have thought Fabinho would get an increase in his Shots rating after his wonder goal against Manchester City. Fabinho managed two goals and three assists in the Premier League this season compared to one goal and three assists the previous season. His passing stats did not really change from the previous year, so it is surprising to me that EA chose to upgrade his passing. This is another player I wish had a bit more Pace.

Andrew Robertson

FIFA21 Rating: 87

Last Year: 85

Robertson was upgraded +2 overall after claiming the title of best left back in Europe. His continued quest to beat Trent Alexander-Arnold to most assists in a season has lead to increase in Passing (+3), and Dribbling (+1). Liverpool’s excellent defensive record has lead to Robertson gaining in Defense (+1) and Physical (+1). Unfortunately Robertson received a downgrade in Pace (-2). It seems to just be FIFA policy once you reach a certain age you start getting slower regardless of real life results.

Virgil Van Dijk

FIFA21 Rating: 90

Last Year: 90

Virgil Van Dijk comes in the seventh highest-rated player in the game. Aside from goalkeeper Jan Oblak, Big Virg is the best defender in the game (goalkeepers don’t count anyways). Apparently once someone finally dribbled past Virgil, his Pace was given a down grade (-1). His Defense skill got an increase (+1), this season making him the only player with a 91 defensive stat. You can say all you want about Big Virg, but he is easily still the best center back in Europe – and his FIFA rating reflects that.

Joe Gomez

FIFA21 Rating: 83

Last Year: 80

If you played FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) last season, you knew Gomez was a cheap secret weapon. His high Pace stat is really quick for a defender. Last season’s 80 rating was a bit harsh, and Gomez’s excellent displays earned him a +3 overall increase.  Gomez received increases in his Pace (+1), Pass (+2), Dribble (+2), Def (+4) and Physical (+4). The only area he didn’t receive a boost is Shooting, but Joe has yet to score a senior goal for Liverpool, so this rating is justified.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

FIFA21 Rating: 87

Last Year: 83

Trent Alexander-Arnold had one hell of a season last time out, and his +4 overall increase is the result.  I am actually shocked FIFA made Trent this good. It is clearly justified, but WOW I am just not used to EA making Liverpool look good. Trent was due for an upgrade in Passing and got it with a +5 increase to Pass. His Dribbling was increased by +2.  Though some say Trent often gets caught out of position, FIFA still decided to upgrade his Defense (+2) and Physical (+1).

Alisson

FIFA21 Rating: 90

Last Year: 89

Alisson is arguably one of the world’s best keepers. If he had not been injured for so many games last season, he probably would have won the Golden Glove (most clean sheets in a season). Alisson has been rewarded for his positive performances with a +1 overall upgrade. EA selected to improve his Diving (+1), Handling (+4) and Positioning (+1). Alisson is ranked 12th overall, but is not yet seen by EA as FIFA’s top keeper with Jan Oblak claiming that title. When comparing stats though Alisson actually has better Kicking, Speed and Positioning. 

The Rest

CM: Thiago Alcantara (85)

CB: Joel Matip (83)

CM: Naby Keita (81)

RM: Xherdan Shaqiri (81)

LW: Diogo Jota (80)

CM: James Milner (80)

CM: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (79)

RW: Takumi Minamino (77)

RM: Harry Wilson (77)

ST: Divock Origi (77)

LB: Kostas Tsimikas (76)

CB: Nathaniel Phillips (68)

RB: Neco Williams (67)

CAM: Ben Woodburn (66)

RW: Harvey Elliott (65)

CB: Sepp van den Berg (65)

CM: Curtis Jones (64)

The Mistakes

This season I was a bit surprised EA decided to be so generous with our teams ratings. With the results we have had, there was no way they were going to represent the Reds poorly this season.  The one player ratings they appeared to have got terribly wrong are Thiago and Curtis Jones.

Last season Thiago was rated 87 and despite being one of Bayern’s key players in their Champion’s League triumph, he received a downgrade to 85.  When comparing the stats from the past two seasons, Thiago made fewer appearances in the more recent season due to injury. He scored one more league goal (three total), but provided no assists after providing six in the previous season.  

Thiago’s Pace was reduced (-4). His Shot rating received a point reduction (-2) but his Defense was increased (+1). I understand that once players pass a certain age point, it would be fair to assume their speed is not the same as it once was. But for Thiago to be lowered by two overall is not quite right. Hopefully he can prove his EA haters wrong.

Towards the end of last season, FIFA20 had given Jones a 65 rating. This season they are starting him off at a 64. In comparison Neco Williams, another Liverpool youth player pushing his way into the first team last season, received a 68. 

Personally I think Jones deserved at least a 70 rating. Last season Jones made ten first team appearances in all competitions, scoring three goals. In Premier League 2, the U23 Development league, he scored nine goals and assisted five in 14 appearances. Hopefully, Jones will get more chances this season and change EA’s mind on his rating. 

The Verdict

There you have it – the lowdown of LFC’s first team FIFA21 ratings ready for you to dominate your online seasons or FUT Rivals matches. Approaching FIFA’s ratings with realistic expectations, I really cannot complain too much about the Liverpool squad this season. Although Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain might have a word or two… Check out this video the club posted where the players discover their ratings in the new game.

I’m Jordan Gerrard and as always, I thank you for reading!

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