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Everton's Ross Barkley being punched was 'unprovoked attack' - lawyers

Merseyside Police are investigating video footage that appears to show Ross Barkley being punched in the early hours of Monday morning at a Liverpool bar in what has been described by lawyers representing the Everton and England midfielder as an "unprovoked attack."

Barkley was pictured in CCTV footage of the altercation just hours after playing in Everton's 4-2 win over Leicester City at Goodison Park.

The 23-year-old is seen engaged in conversation with another, unidentified man who then swiftly throws two punches. Barkley falls to the floor while the man is dragged away.

"Merseyside Police is aware of footage online reportedly showing an assault in a bar in Liverpool city centre," read a statement.

"No report of an assault has been received but officers are making enquiries to establish the circumstances of the incident."

Everton are yet to comment publicly on the issue, but lawyers representing Barkley said in a statement to Press Association Sport: "We can confirm that Ross was the victim of an unprovoked attack by a stranger who approached him on Sunday evening."

Following Sunday's win, Everton manager Ronald Koeman said Barkley must sign a new contract and commit his future to the club or face being sold.

Barkley's current deal runs out next summer and Koeman said the scenario with the 23-year-old Liverpudlian is straightforward.

"We offer him a new contract, and then [there are] two possibilities," Koeman said when asked what he could do to keep Barkley. "One, he signs that contract, if he doesn't sign that contract then we need to sell the player. It's simple, it's not so difficult in my opinion."

Santa Chupitos, where the alleged incident took place, said the member of staff responsible for leaking video footage had been sacked. The venue said in a statement: "Incidents like the one circulating the internet from a recent altercation in the bar are very rare and extremely unwelcome in the venue.

"There should be no place for this any walk of public life. The incident on the evening was handled quickly and professionally and no injuries occurred.

"We can confirm that we have fully investigated and dismissed the member of staff responsible for illegally recording and leaking imagery.

"The safety and privacy of our guests will always be paramount, whoever they maybe. We will continue to work closely with the relevant people and authorities with any incident of this nature."

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