Gerrard could face five years' jail if convicted

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The Independent Online

Steven Gerrard was supported by Liverpool today as he faced a maximum five-year jail term if convicted of assault.

The Liverpool captain was publicly backed by the Anfield hierarchy, who issued a statement offering him "all the support he needs".

While the father-of-two was recovering at his mansion home from 21 hours in police custody, the club said: "Steven has been an outstanding servant to Liverpool for the last 10 years and the club will give him all the support he needs at this time."

And behind the scenes club sources confirmed England international Gerrard had done nothing wrong by being out with friends.

"The players flew back from their game with Newcastle and all the players have had two days off," said the source.

"They only play again on Saturday so it was agreed everyone could have Monday and Tuesday off.

"They'll all be back in training tomorrow along with Stevie.

"The thinking is he will get on with things as normal.

"The whole club is 100 per cent behind Stevie and that includes the manager who has told him as much."

In the early hours of today the midfielder was charged with actual bodily harm and affray.

He is accused of assaulting businessman and part-time DJ Marcus McGee, 34, who was injured during a fight at the Lounge Inn, Southport, Merseyside.

Gerrard had been drinking in the bar - which turns into a nightclub - on Sunday evening with friends to mark Liverpool's 5-1 win over Newcastle United.

The evening started well.

Before the night was in full swing Gerrard enjoyed a chat and drinks with Anfield legend Kenny Dalglish.

"Stevie was signing autographs for people and was most certainly not drunk," said the source.

"He was talking to Kenny about how he could help Kenny's wife's cancer charity work."

After Dalglish left, Gerrard's group toasted him for scoring two goals in the victory over Newcastle.

But trouble apparently flared in the early hours and the star was arrested with five other men.

He was charged with John Doran, 29, and Ian Gerard Smith, 19, both of Huyton, where Gerrard grew up.

Mr McGee allegedly lost a tooth in the nightclub fight and needed several stitches to a face wound.

The extent of Gerrard's alleged involvement in unclear.

In the hours after the incident, blood could be seen on the floor of the club along with shattered glass.

Today, despite his club's backing, Gerrard remained silent.

He rested at his home in Formby near Southport with wife Alex Curran.

There was no answer at the house but the couple left at 1.15pm in their black Range Rover with Gerrard at the wheel.

Curran, a model and fashion columnist, dropped the father of her two daughters home at 3.35pm before driving away.

Gerrard will appear at North Sefton Magistrates' Court in Southport on 23 January.

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