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    Liverpool's Gerrard charged over bar assault

    London: It was business as usual when Steven Gerrard returned to training with his Liverpool team-mates ahead of Saturday's FA Cup tie against Preston North End after his recent run-in with the law. On Wednesday the England and Liverpool midfielder attended practice with his club for the first time after being charged in connection with a brawl in a Merseyside resort last week.

    Gerrard was charged with assault on Thursday after a fight at a bar in northwest England, police said.

    The 28-year-old was one of six men arrested in the early hours of December 29 after police were called to a bar in Southport. A 34-year-old man was taken to hospital with facial injuries.

    "Steven Gerrard has been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray," the duty inspector for Merseyside Police said.

    Meanwhile, the club has publicly backed the midfielder with manager Rafa Benitez giving him 'total support'. Gerrard faces a maximum five-year jail term if convicted after being accused of assaulting a businessman and part-time DJ during a fight at the Lounge Inn. He will attend North Sefton Magistrates' Court in Southport on January 23.

    The incident followed Liverpool's 5-1 win at Newcastle United on Sunday in which Gerrard scored twice.

    In a brief statement, 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."

    Two men have been charged alongside Gerrard with the same offences. All three are due to appear before North Sefton magistrates on January 23, accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray, according to a police statement.

    Three other men have been released on police bail pending further inquiries.

    (With inputs from agencies)