Premier League footballer Joey Barton has been arrested after a fight outside a nightclub.
The Queens Park Rangers midfielder, 29, was involved in trouble in the early hours of today while on a night out with his girlfriend in Liverpool city centre.
Two men, aged 21 and from the Old Swan area of Liverpool, were arrested on suspicion of a public order offence at around 5.30am at the scene of the incident, outside Garlands nightclub in the city.
But after they were held in custody and questioned, Barton and a 20-year-old man were also arrested this afternoon.
All have been bailed pending further inquiries - apart from Barton, who remains in police custody where he will be questioned by officers.
A spokesman for Merseyside Police said: "Following an altercation in Eberle Street, Liverpool city centre, in the early hours of this morning, four men have been arrested on suspicion of affray.
"Two 21-year-old men were arrested at the scene in the early hours of this morning and another two men, a 20-year-old from the Liverpool area and 29-year-old from the Widnes area, were arrested this afternoon.
"The two 21-year-old men and the 20-year-old man have been questioned by officers and have been released on bail pending further inquiries.
"The 29-year-old man remains in police custody where he will be questioned by detectives."
Earlier today Barton, who has become well-known for his opinionated Twitter outbursts, confirmed there had been trouble outside the club.
The Liverpool-born midfielder tweeted: "I got sucker punched in the back of the head.
"Not injured as reported just a small bruise on rear of head/ear.
"I've had worse. Life goes on! Thanks for the concern. Have a good day people."
Later he tweeted: "Not planning on pressing charges as it's not that serious. The police have also got better things to do with their time.
"Can I just say a public thanks to the police last night as they were and have been today brilliant."
A picture of the incident, apparently showing a shirtless Barton being held back by police and a woman, also began to circulate on Twitter.
The player is under investigation by QPR after he was given a 12-match ban by the Football Association.
He was banned by English football's governing body after being sent off during QPR's defeat at Manchester City on the final day of the Premier League season.
During the match, he elbowed one Manchester City player, kicked out at a second and attempted to headbutt a third.
In a statement, QPR spokesman Ian Taylor said: "Barton was on his way home from a night out with his girlfriend when two men sang offensive chants and then proceeded to hit the QPR midfielder."
The club declined to comment further following news of the arrest of their player.
Barton's management team and spokesman did not return calls.
News of the fight was widely commented on by Twitter users, with the words Joey Barton and Garlands trending throughout the day.
@JoshGore_11, who claimed to have been at the scene, said Barton "looked in a bad way" after the fight.
Barton has a long history of controversy, both on and off the pitch.
In 2008, he was given a six-month jail term after admitting assault and affray during an incident in Liverpool.
More:Joey Barton Arrested Affray Joey Barton Nightclub Brawl Joey Barton Punched UK Football UK Sport
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