It was a mixed afternoon for the creative midfielder, who was heavily involved defensively for large periods but adapted accordingly when Bournemouth had momentum on their side with a two-goal deficit to overturn.
One of the main criticisms about Wilshere’s game in recent seasons has been his perceived lack of effort when out of possession, but it was important that his presence was felt in deeper areas of the pitch when Liverpool enjoyed numerous moments of dominance with the ball.
With 81% pass accuracy and 100% tackle success (two completed), it’s clear to see that the 24-year-old was effective when called upon during periods where his creative brilliance was essentially stifled by Liverpool’s high-pressing tactic as Bournemouth collectively started sluggishly.
He was able to use his excellent dribbling ability in order to relieve pressure on his backline going forward whilst being fouled on two occasions as the Reds knew they had to try and dispossess the Englishman to limit the hosts’ focal point near the final third.
His battle with compatriot Jordan Henderson was an intriguing watch: one where he regularly came out on top with intricate forward passes. Goalkeeper Loris Karius had a nervy moment after Junior Stanislas fizzed a dangerous cross towards the near post, a passage in play which had originated from Wilshere himself winning possession in the centre of the park.
Booked early in the second-half for dissent having skipped past a handful of opposition challenges, Wilshere was penalized by referee Robert Madley after a foul on Henderson himself.
However, another instance where he left Henderson in his tracks was during the build-up to Bournemouth’s second strike, the hosts drove forward on a counter-attack and Wilshere’s pass into Benik Afobe’s path left Henderson and the rest of Liverpool’s players ball-watching.
Winning the ball in an aerial challenge with Divock Origi on the edge of the box, he looked up and saw Ryan Fraser free on his right. This pass proved crucial during the build-up to Steve Cook’s well-taken equaliser in the area.
Overall, it was a memorable match and one where Wilshere’s discipline was tested against one of Premier League’s best-quality sides. Following his relatively quiet display away against Manchester City back in October, this performance just shows he’s improving on a weekly basis.
Given the significance of the result and how Bournemouth managed to come back from a two-goal deficit to prevail against one of the title contenders, Wilshere’s performance here is one that’ll go relatively unnoticed. That’s something that will only help him to continue developing in the long-run.