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Friedel looking to remain at Liverpool.

By Robert Wagman

HERNDON, Va. (Wednesday, June 9, 1999) -- United States goalkeeper Brad Friedel says he wants to stay at Liverpool and is hopeful he will. He is in here training with the national team as it prepares for its Sunday match with Argentina at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.

Friedel had an up-and-down (and then back up) year with Liverpool. He started several matches early in the year then spent months on the bench behind starter David James. Late in the season, however, James lost favor and Friedel again became the starter and showed well.

Now James has announced he is leaving Liverpool in $3.2 million transfer to Newcastle. His replacement at Liverpool is rumored to be young Dutch keeper Sanders Westerveld, who it is said will cost Liverpool a reported $5.25 million.

At time various other goalkeepers were reported coming to Liverpool. But the quality of his play over the last six weeks may well keep Friedel in place. At least he hope so.

"I've really enjoyed it there," he says. "I have shown I can play and I'm really hopeful that things get worked out for next year."

Perhaps Friedel's biggest hurdle will be the renewal of the required British work permit. They are issued on an annual basis and Friedel's is up June 30. For soccer players, renewal is based on the percentage of matches played.

On a very strict reading of the rules, Friedel did not play a high-enough percentage of Liverpool's matches this past year. But in the past foreign goalkeepers have been treated somewhat differently than field players. At least Friedel hopes so: "I'm told I should not have a problem getting the permit renewed. I hope so. I'm keeping my fingers crossed."

Robert Wagman is a regular contributor to SoccerTimes and can be e-mailed at SoccerWag1@aol.com.

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