Liverpool FC boss Rafa Benitez backs skipper Steven Gerrard
LIVERPOOL manager Rafa Benitez today gave Steven Gerrard his full backing after he was charged with assaulting a DJ.
The Reds boss, who returned to training today for the first time since undergoing surgery on a kidney stone problem a fortnight ago, said: "Steven is our captain and a key player for us, but more than this, I know him as a nice person.
"I sat down with him this morning and had a very good talk with him about the situation and I was also able to speak at length with our club lawyer.
"Steven explained to me what had happened and I told him he has my full support and backing, along with everyone else at the football club.
"He has trained with the other lads this morning after a couple of days off for the squad and is keen now to focus solely on his football.
"We have worked very hard to get into the position we are in going through to the New Year and all of us are determined to keep that progress going.
"We will do whatever we can to support Steven in the weeks ahead, but we are now concentrating on our preparation for the FA Cup game at Preston this weekend."
Liverpool captain Gerrard, 28, was charged with assault and affray after a nightclub brawl in the early hours of Monday.
He was charged with two other men following a fight at the Lounge Inn, in Southport.
The father-of-two was celebrating his team's win over Newcastle when trouble began.
He was arrested and interviewed by detectives who later charged the England international.
It is claimed the player assaulted part-time DJ Marcus McGee, 34, of Southport.
Gerrard, of Formby, will go before magistrates on January 23 with John Doran, 29, and Ian Gerard Smith, 19, both of Huyton.
They are also facing counts of assault and affray.