Football: Friedel bound for Liverpool

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The Independent Online
Liverpool have lost out on one foreigner but seem certain to acquire another. A pounds 3.5m move for Milan's Dutchman, Winston Bogarde, has been abandoned, but there should be the consolation of signing the American goalkeeper, Brad Friedel.

The club expect to be told next week that they have won the six-week race to sign the 28-year-old Columbus Crew keeper .

The breakthrough in the pounds 1m transfer of the United States World Cup player has come about because the Department of the Employment are unlikely to appeal against a High Court ruling on an application by Portsmouth for the Australian goalkeeper, Zeljko Kalac, that had been holding up Friedel's case.

Liverpool's chief executive, Peter Robinson, received a call from the DOE telling him that a decision is imminent and is likely to go their way.

The Friedel verdict, expected in a few days, comes now the DOE have virtually accepted a High Court ruling to review their regulations with particular regard to international matches players have missed through injury. Pompey appealed against a decision to refuse Kalac a permit, and that blocked any decision on Friedel.

DOE solicitors have been studying the transcript of the ruling, but seem certain to accept it, changing the requirements which have been blocking Kalac and Friedel's moves.

With that deal reaching a conclusion - which will put intense pressure on David James - the Bogarde move collapsed.

Liverpool pulled out of a deal after apparently agreeing a fee and personal terms with the 27-year-old. His agent claimed that the defender was due to fly to England tomorrow, having phoned Liverpool on Thursday to accept their offer.

Liverpool are thought to have concerns about Bogarde's temperament after reports of a row he had at Ajax last season. After being left out of the European Cup quarter-final against Atletico Madrid, he stormed out of training camp and went missing, joining Milan in the summer.

Robinson confirmed the approach, saying: "We had preliminary discussions and have decided not to proceed."