Liu Jianye started his football career with Shenyang Ginde in the 2005 league season where he immediately made an impact within the club after making his debut on 30 April 2005 in a 1-0 win against Chongqing Lifan. Throughout the season, he played in 19 league games and scored his first goal against Shanghai Shenhua in a 6-1 loss. His position within the team was cemented the following season when Liu played in a further 25 leagues games for the club and helped them avoid relegation throughout much of the 2006 league season. At the beginning of the 2007 league season, Shenyang moved to Changsha and rename themselves Changsha Ginde; however, despite the move and Liu becoming a vital member of the squad due to his ability to play in numerous position, the next several seasons saw the club become consistent relegation strugglers and were eventually relegated at the end of the 2010 season.
Despite being relegated with Changsha, Liu established himself within the Chinese national team and was quickly transferred to fellow Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Sainty in December 2010 for an undisclosed fee. He was named club captain during the 2011 season and established himself as a pivotal part of the club's backline.