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Liverpool captain Gerrard arrested over assault

sports Updated: Dec 30, 2008 13:02 IST

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was arrested early on Monday in connection with an alleged assault at a bar that left a disk jockey hospitalized with facial injuries.

The England midfielder was celebrating after Liverpool extended its lead atop the Premier League to three points with an emphatic 5-1 victory at Newcastle on Sunday afternoon.

Police arrested the 28-year-old Gerrard at 2:30 am (0230 GMT) in Southport along with five other men after the brawl. They remained in police custody early Tuesday, a police official said on condition of anonymity. British police do not publicly name suspects unless charges are brought.

Officers only began interviewing the suspects Monday afternoon and expected the questioning to continue until late in the evening. Gerrard's wife Alex Curran was seen near the police station but drove off without answering reporters' questions. In the altercation outside the Lounge Inn, its 34-year-old DJ had a tooth broken and sustained cuts to his forehead, although he was later released from hospital, the police official said. Spots of blood and shards of broken glass were visible on the floor of the venue, which was closed on Monday.

The modern restaurant, which becomes a nightclub later in the evening, in the seaside town of Southport is less than 10 miles from Gerrard's home in Formby in Merseyside.

The other men held, who are not believed to be footballers, are from the Huyton area of Merseyside, where Gerrard was brought up and spotted by Liverpool scouts at the age of eight while playing for Whiston Juniors.

Gerrard is Liverpool's most influential player and crucial to its bid to win the English league title for the first time since 1990, scoring twice and setting up another goal in Sunday's emphatic victory at Newcastle

Manager Rafa Benitez hailed his talisman's maturity last month. "He is an example to everyone," Benitez said. "He always trains hard and is a good professional. He is always committed on the pitch, it is a kind of leadership that all captains should aspire to."

Gerrard, who has played 70 matches for England, led Liverpool to the Champions League title in 2005, which led to him being appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

His status as one of the world's best midfielders was recognized by his fellow international professionals in October when he was named in FIFPro's team-of-the-year lineup.

Liverpool, which next faces Preston on Saturday in the FA Cup, was making no comment.