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Gerrard gets backing of Liverpool boss Benitez

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has offered his full backing to skipper Steven Gerrard after the 28 year old was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray. "Steven is our captain and a key player for us, but more than this, I know him as a nice person," Benitez told the club's official website.

"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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