Everton midfielder Ross Barkley appears to have been involved in a violent altercation with a man in a cocktail bar in Liverpool during the early hours of Monday morning (10 April). CCTV footage shows the 23-year-old seemingly being punched in the face twice and subsequently collapsing to the floor in Santa Chupitos, a popular establishment that takes pride of place in the heart of Liverpool.
There seems to be no animosity from both parties the start of the footage; Barkley and the aggressor are seen to be in polite conversation. From nowhere, the man punches the England international in the face and attempts to carry on his startling attack before being reprimanded.
Merseyside Police said in a statement that they are currently examining the footage, which popped up on social media on Monday. Everton have not yet commented on the incident, but Barkley's lawyers have confirmed that he was 'the victim of an unprovoked attack by a stranger who approached him on Sunday evening.' Barkley did show up for training at Finch Farm, showing no immediate signs of injury from the fracas.
A statement from Merseyside Police read: "We are aware of footage online reportedly showing an assault in a bar in Liverpool city centre. No report of an assault has been received but officers are making enquiries to establish the circumstances of the incident."
The exact time of the incident is unknown but occurred just hours after Barkley produced a superb display in Everton's 4-2 win over Leicester City on Sunday. The Wavertree-born playmaker, who has just over a year left on his current contract with Ronald Koeman's side, provided an assist for top scorer Romelu Lukaku as they overpowered Craig Shakespeare's men.
Both the club and supporters will hope the sorry incident does not danage the boyhood Everton fan in any way as they head into the dying embers of the Premier League season. Aside from a poor display at Anfield, Barkley has been in tremendous form since the turn of the year, benefiting greatly from Koeman's tough love approach.