Liverpool:England midfielder Steven Gerrard admitted to police that he threw three punches toward a man in a bar room, according to testimony presented in court.
The transcript from the Liverpool captain's police interview was read yesterday at his trial on affray charges after a bartender told the jury that the footballer was in a "huff" before launching uppercuts at businessman Marcus McGee.
Gerrard was with friends at a bar in Southport in the early hours of December 29 last year, hours after scoring twice in Liverpool's 5-1 victory over Newcastle.
Gerrard told police he had bottles of Budweiser beer and a shot of spirits, and rated his level of intoxication as seven out of 10 when he confronted McGee in a row over the music being play in the Lounge Inn.
The 34-year-old McGee said Gerrard had tried to grab a music card from him after being refused control of the CD player.
"I was having a good night but I was gutted and just wanted to straighten it out with him," Gerrard said.
Gerrard admitted throwing three punches but that only one connected with McGee. He said he only swung at McGee because he thought he was about to be attacked himself.
"He stood up quite aggressively out of his stool and I thought to myself 'I am not going to be able to sort this out in the way I wanted,'" Gerrard said.
"I thought he was going to give me a smack. He was shouting back and I didn't know what he was saying but he started arguing and I thought he was going to hit me so that's why I threw a punch."
Bartender Nathaniel Lockie told the jury that Gerrard was in a "huff" at the time.
"Gerrard grabbed the back of his jumper and pulled it over his head, pulled him down and started uppercutting him," Lockie said.
"While that happened I ran round to the other side of the bar trying to help and he (Gerrard) was dragged off into the restaurant."
McGee, who lost a front tooth crown in the alleged attack, told Liverpool Crown Court that Gerrard was "bad tempered, so straight away I was acting proportionate to how his attitude was."
"I remember a barrage of punches coming in at my face but I didn't know who has done what," McGee said. "Having watched the CCTV it was obvious Steven Gerrard hits me a couple of times, maybe three times but I couldn't honestly say on the night. ...I didn't throw any punches, I wasn't acting aggressively, I didn't hit anyone at all."
Gerrard, who denies the affray charges, is expected to give evidence in the court on Thursday. Five other men pleaded guilty and another admitted a lesser charge of threatening behavior. The trial is expected to last several days.