Assault charge against Gerrard dropped

Prosecutors dropped accusations of assault against England and Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard on Friday but the player will still face a charge of affray over a bar brawl. The Liverpool captain was arrested in the early hours of December 29 after police were called to the Lounge Bar nightclub in Southport, north of Liverpool in northwest England.

Company director Marcus McGee, 34, required hospital treatment after receiving facial injuries in the incident.

At North Sefton magistrates court on Friday, Gerrard, 28, was told he would no longer face a charge of assault occasioning bodily harm, the Press Association reported.

Prosecutor Nick Evans said after a review of the evidence it had been decided that Gerrard and the other six men accused of involvement in the brawl would only face lesser charges of affray.

The case was committed to Liverpool Crown Court for a hearing on April 3. Gerrard has not yet formally entered a plea but has said he intends to deny wrongdoing.

The incident occurred following Gerrard's man-of-the-match performance in a 5-1 win over Newcastle United in which he had scored twice.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has said the club are fully behind Gerrard whose court appearance comes the day before a Premier League game against Aston Villa.

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