Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has expressed his full support for Steven Gerrard in the wake of the midfielder being charged with assault and affray following an incident in a bar in Southport earlier this week.
Reds skipper Gerrard will attend North Sefton Magistrates' Court in Southport on January 23 but he has been given the full backing of the Anfield hierarchy, with Benitez the latest to give a public expression of his support.
The Spaniard, who returned to Melwood on Wednesday for the first time since undergoing surgery on a kidney stone problem a fortnight ago, told the club's official website, www.liverpoolfc.tv: "Steven is our captain and a key player for us, but more than this, I know him as a nice person."
He added: "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's 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've worked very hard to get into the position we're in going through to the new year and all of us are determined to keep that progress going.
"We'll do whatever we can to support Steven in the weeks ahead, but we're now concentrating on our preparation for the FA Cup game at Preston this weekend."
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