Gerrard found not guilty

Steven Gerrard has been cleared of affray after an incident in a bar in Southport at the end of 2008.

The Liverpool captain did not travel with the squad for their tour of South East Asia this week with his court case being heard back in Merseyside.

Gerrard pleaded not-guilty and claimed he acted in self-defence when he punched Marcus McGee, 34, when out celebrating Liverpool’s 5-1 victory over Newcastle in the final game of 2008.

The jury took just an hour to come to the decision that Gerrard was not guilty of the charge, although five other men all admitted affray.

Steven Gerrard leaving Liverpool Crown CourtRafa Benitez was delighted with the verdict.

“We are really pleased,” he said. “He is very important for us and he can now focus just on football.

“We are all pleased at the club and over here at the training camp.

“We have been supporting him all the time and were just waiting for the decision. Now he can concentrate just on football and hopefully play at the same level as last year.”

It is unlikely that Gerrard will fly to meet the squad in Singapore, where they play a friendly on Sunday.