Liverpool's American Goalkeeper Brad Friedel Is Not A Happy Man. Why Is This?
What are your club's aims for the season?
"There can only be one aim - to win the league."
And what are your personal aims?
"With what's gone on lately at Liverpool, I have to aim to get a regular place in the team, first and foremost. I've only been there for one week of pre-season (because of being in the Confederations Cup with the USA - Ed) and that makes it difficult for me from the beginning. But this is my country and any time you are called you have to go. But I can't cry over spilled milk. I've never seen Sander Westerveld play but I figured when David James left that they would bring someone else in. I knew I would have competition. It will be a bit strange when I go back because I won't know half the team! I've not seen the team shape yet or anything."
How do you think your team will do? Be honest.
"Honestly, I've no idea. For the fans' sake, I hope we do really well because they were used to success for so long and now they have had to do without it and they have had salt rubbed in their wounds by what has gone on at Manchester United. But it is just a matter of when we win something. I'm told we have 24 foreigners at the club now so I think there will be no mediocrity. We will either be very, very good or very, very bad. We will be a shambles or we'll be great!"
Who is your most important player?
"There isn't one, really. It's up to Gerard Houllier to see what team he fields and then we have all got to be at our best. But with so many new players it's going to be hard to know what the next guy is going to do."
What was the highlight of last season for you?
"Getting back into the team and getting the draw against Manchester United, which we thought would stop them winning the league. Then Leeds went and beat Arsenal, so that joy faded fast. At the time, we had not much at all to play for but the fans were so happy when we got that draw. Everyone thought Arsenal would get a result at Leeds but that just shows what a good side Leeds are."
And the low point?
"Getting dropped for having a bad 20 minutes at Old Trafford. I'd started the season well and it was a joke to get dropped for one shaky 20 minutes in the first ten games. I was treated very poorly and it was very unfair. A manager can't do that. I was told a lot of things before I signed and I could have gone elsewhere but things were not as I'd been told at Liverpool. The managers are not stand-up figures, for me. But that's water under the bridge now."
So you must be glad to have seen the back of Roy Evans, then?
"Not really because he and Houllier were co-managers and they both made decisions. I can't blame just one of them for dropping me and it sure as heck didn't change straightaway. Peter Schmeichel was dodgy for two months but he came through it with flying colours. A bad 20 minutes wasn't going to devastate the rest of my career. The worst thing was Roy didn't stand by me in the press conference after the United game."
So if Westerveld is number one from now until Christmas, what will you do?
"If he's in goal then it means he is doing well, and so are Liverpool, so I will reluctantly probably have to go elsewhere."
Who do you hate playing against (club and player) and why?
"David Ginola on top form is one of the best. He pulls shots out of the bag with no big build-up and that is very hard to prepare for. But every team has a top-class star now. It's not like five years ago when there were only a couple around. There are a handful of teams who are very physical at set-pieces and make it hard for a goalkeeper but I think Liverpool will be very different at set-pieces this year. We have brought some big, strong players. As for crowds giving me a hard time, I take no notice. I'd rather have thousands of fans screaming obscenities at me than an empty stadium."
Who do you think will win the Premiership?
"Ask me around Christmas time! The team who is top then usually doesn't win it. I think it will be Chelsea, Manchester United, ourselves or Arsenal. You can't count us out because we have brought in some very good players. Remember two years ago when Arsenal brought a lot of foreigners in? They were 13 points behind but they gelled by the second half of the season and were unbeatable. That could be us. People just have to be patient."
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