Is Harry Wilson proving he has a future at Liverpool with goalscoring form for Bournemouth?

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Harry Wilson has caught the eye with his goalscoring for Bournemouth this season, but is he performing at a standard that could fit in at Liverpool?

The 22-year-old joined the Cherries on a season-long deal in August, after initially being linked with a £15 million move to either Newcastle or Aston Villa.

Bournemouth paid a loan fee of £2.5 million for the Welshman’s services, with performance-based add-ons lifting this to £3 million if he reaches certain targets at Dean Court.

So far, he can be argued to be doing so, with a healthy contribution in terms of goals and an important role as a regular starter for Eddie Howe in the absence of David Brooks.

He was back on Merseyside in December to assess a leg injury that is not expected to rule him out for the long term, and during his time there he would no doubt have discussed his progress.

But could Wilson be part of the Liverpool squad next season?

This Is Anfield spoke to the Bournemouth Echo‘s Tom Crocker (@TomCrockerEcho) to discuss his form so far and his long-term prospects.

 

There was a clamour for Wilson to stay at Liverpool in the summer, but what was the feeling when he joined Bournemouth?

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - Wednesday, July 31, 2019: Liverpool's Harry Wilson during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Olympique Lyonnais at Stade de Genève. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is fair to say there was a real level of excitement when Wilson first arrived. Everyone saw the spectacular goals he scored during his time at Derby and also during pre-season for Liverpool.

When his name was first linked, it seemed unlikely Cherries could get a deal done for him.

But good relations between the clubs and also good feeling from Jurgen Klopp towards Eddie Howe appeared to seal the deal, as well as Wilson’s personal relationship with some members of the Bournemouth squad, such as Chris Mepham.

The move for Wilson was particularly accelerated after David Brooks suffered a serious ankle injury in late July, something he is still yet to recover from.

It left Bournemouth short of wingers so the addition of Wilson was greatly received by the fans and club alike.

 

Looking at them cold, his stats are impressive – but it feels like that doesn’t tell the whole story?

Bournemouth's Harry Wilson scores his side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at Villa Park, Birmingham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday August 17, 2019. See PA story SOCCER Villa. Photo credit should read: Tim Goode/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

The first thing to always try and remember when analysing Wilson’s performances this season is that this is his first season in the Premier League.

As good as he did at Derby, the step up into the Premier League is massive, particularly when you are also learning tactically about playing for a new club.

Due to the injury to Brooks, as well as fellow summer signing Arnaut Danjuma, Wilson has been required to start the vast majority of matches.

To return six goals already, the most of anyone at the club this season, is an impressive feat.

His stunning free-kick against Man City stole the headlines but finishes against Southampton and Newcastle also showed another side of his game, popping up in the box and finishing well.

There have also been some question marks about producing complete 90-minute performances.

He has a tendency of fading in and out of games a little bit and has only played a full league match twice so far, but his contributions as a whole have been very positive.

 

How has Eddie Howe used Wilson so far, and where has it worked?

Bournemouth's Harry Wilson (PA Images)

Wilson has played almost exclusively as a right winger in a 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 system.

That said, many of his goals have seen him drift in from the left and appear in good positions.

There has been some call from fans for him to be used more centrally, but due to the crippling injury list, Howe has not really had the luxury of tinkering too much.

As mentioned before, his performances in general have been impressive, but he has at times been caught out defensively.

That’s a side of his game which needs improvement if he is to stay playing on the wing in a midfield four.

 

Put bluntly, based on his performances so far, does Wilson have a long-term future at Liverpool?

BRADFORD, ENGLAND - Saturday, July 13, 2019: Liverpool's Rhian Brewster (L) celebrates scoring the third goal with team-mate Harry Wilson during a pre-season friendly match between Bradford City AFC and Liverpool FC at Valley Parade. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

That is a tough question because it depends what openings there are in the Liverpool squad.

Is he ready to come in next season and take over from Salah or Mane as first choice? Probably not.

But there is no reason, if he continues developing at his current rate for club as well as country, that he can’t become a part of the squad at Liverpool.

They play so many games, if he is given chances then it is up to him to take them and go from there.

One thing I think Wilson is proving this season is that he can be a useful asset in the Premier League, something that couldn’t be said for certain six months ago.


* Many thanks to Tom Crocker for his insight into Wilson’s loan spell, follow him on Twitter @TomCrockerEcho.

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