Opinion: Were Liverpool wrong to
let Harry Wilson leave on loan? 
Harry Wilson celebrating his goal in pre-season against Lyon with Adam Lallana | Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/Gerry Images

Having let highly rated youngster Harry Wilson join Bournemouth on loan for the season was this a shrewd move or a costly mistake from Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp?

A chance to develop at Bournemouth

Wilson excelled last season as he went out on loan to Derby County, scoring 18 goals for Frank Lampard’s Championship side in the process. The Welshman then scored a sublime goal for Liverpool in a pre-season friendly as they as they saw off Lyon 3-1.

If this summer was anything to go by, it would have suggested that Wilson had at last played his way into Jurgen Klopp’s plans. And at 22, this season could have marked his first team breakthrough. However, fans and supporters of Wilson were left dismayed as he was shipped out to Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth on loan.

If the intention was for Wilson to gain valuable first team experience then it was more likely that he would be able to achieve this at Bournemouth than by staying at Anfield. That can surely be the only logical reasoning behind Klopp’s thinking - that the youngster would be better served by featuring for the Cherries this season.

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Lack of attacking midfielders

However, the counter argument is a strong one. Ever since the departure of Philippe Coutinho 18 months ago to Barcelona, Liverpool have been light in the attacking midfield area. Georginio Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Naby Keita, James Milner and Jordan Henderson are very similar players, all of a defensive nature. The only remotely attacking midfielders Liverpool have are Xherdan Shaqiri, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana.

Now, Shaqiri started off his Anfield career very brightly last season. Then in January, Klopp mysteriously stopped playing the Swiss wideman much to the dismay of the club’s fans. However, in the final matches of last season’s title race and Champions League success, he began to feature more prominently. However, without the support of his boss how can the Swiss be expected to flourish? Another reason why the young Harry Wilson should have been retained.

Oxlade-Chamberlain spent nearly the entirety of last season on the treatment table. He also featured in a handful of games near the end of the campaign. Whether he is fully fit and fresh after pre-season coming into the 2019-2020 campaign is uncertain. But if Klopp and the fans are relying on the Ox to be the club’s attacking midfield saviour, this may be naive given his fitness and injury issues.

Adam Lallana doesn’t fare much better. He has been injury prone for Klopp for nearly two seasons now. On his day he is a very talented operator in the Liverpool midfield. He has also performed well for England on occasions. However, with his contract up next summer and his injury record, maintaining and developing Wilson this season at Anfield would have made a lot more sense.

Liverpool's limited offensive midfield options also cost them dearly in specific league matches last season. Damaging draws against West Ham, Leicester City, Manchester United and Everton spring to made. An attacking midfielder and someone of an unknown quantity such as Wilson would have been ideal for the club.

Man City possess strength in depth

If the Reds are to go far in other cup competitions such as the Carabao Cup and FA Cup and compete on all fronts, Wilson could have assisted in club’s quest for more honours.

A team like Manchester City are rich in attacking midfield options with Leroy Sane, Kevin de Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and others but the same cannot be said for the European Champions. This makes the decision not to strengthen in the transfer market all the more puzzling.

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Faith in youngsters

And finally, seeing the likes of Ben Foden and Mason Mount, fellow young British midfielders, making a breakthrough in other top six sides and scoring important goals, makes one wonder what Wilson could have achieved had he stayed with Klopp’s team for the season.

While the German coach may have his own opinions, one thing is for sure and that is if Wilson’s winner for Bournemouth last Saturday is anything to go by, it’s certainly given Klopp food for thought.

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