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Gerrard back in training after assault charge

 Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard celebrates his goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Newcastle United at St James' Park, N...
  This is a  Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008 file photo of   Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard, right, as he  goes on to score past Newcastle United's Fabricio...
 Alex Curran, left, arrives home with her husband, soccer player Steven Gerrard, right, and unidentified woman in rear, at their home in Liverpool, En...

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Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard celebrates his goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Newcastle United at St James' Park, N...

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This is a Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008 file photo of Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard, right, as he goes on to score past Newcastle United's Fabricio...

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Alex Curran, left, arrives home with her husband, soccer player Steven Gerrard, right, and unidentified woman in rear, at their home in Liverpool, En...

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard returned to training Wednesday with manager Rafa Benitez's full support, a day after being charged with assault and affray following a bar brawl.
With three weeks until his first court appearance, the England midfielder has to put aside concerns about a potential five-year prison sentence as Liverpool continues its drive for the club's first league title in 19 years. The club's next match is at Preston in the FA Cup, although Benitez could decide to rest the star player against the lower-league opponent.
Gerrard was offered "all the support he needs" by the club Tuesday after a reassuring telephone call by Benitez, who is still recovering from surgery to remove kidney stones more than two weeks ago.
Like the rest of the squad, the 28-year-old Gerrard had not been due back at Liverpool's training ground until Wednesday after routing Newcastle 5-1 on Sunday. After scoring two goals in that game, Gerrard joined friends for a late Christmas celebration in the seaside resort of Southport that resulted in the brawl at the Lounge Inn. The bar's 34-year-old disc jockey Marcus McGee was hospitalized after losing a tooth and cutting his forehead.
Former Liverpool striker Kenny Dalglish said he was with Gerrard shortly before the incident, and that there were no signs of any hostilities.
"There had been no indication of anything _ Steve and the lads were having a really good time and everyone was happy," Dalglish said. "Now at this time he needs a lot of people around him to support him, and he could not be at a better football club for that.
"The Steven Gerrard I know is not just a great footballer but a really good person as well. He tries hard to be normal and act normally _ that's why he is out trying to enjoy Christmas with his old friends, he's not someone who walks around with 20-odd security guards around him."
Dalglish, who was manager during the last league triumph in 1990, is confident that Gerrard will remain the Reds' talisman as they look to maintain their lead in the Premier League.
"The Liverpool fans will support him tremendously well," Dalglish said. "He's a really strong character and I'm sure it won't affect his performance. At the end of the day, he will wish _ like everybody else _ it had never happened, but it has happened. He'll deal with it superbly well and he'll get fantastic support from everyone round about him."
Gerrard is due to appear in court for an initial hearing on Jan. 23 with John Doran and Ian Smith, who are friends from the Huyton area of Liverpool where he grew up and were charged with the same offenses.
Merseyside Police released three other men on bail pending further inquiries.


Updated : 2021-07-29 04:31 GMT+08:00