Premier League footballer Joey Barton has been punched in the face outside a nightclub.
The controversial QPR midfielder was involved in a fight with two men outside Garlands nightclub in Liverpool city centre. A picture of the incident, apparently showing a shirtless Barton being held back by police and a woman, appeared on Twitter.
A Merseyside Police spokeswoman said: "Merseyside Police were called to Eberle Street in Liverpool city centre at 5.30am this morning following reports of an altercation. On arrival officers found a 29-year-old man who had sustained injuries to his face. The man left the scene voluntarily."
She added: "Two 21-year-old men from the L13 area were arrested at the scene for a public order offence. They are currently in police custody."
QPR spokesman Ian Taylor said: "Joey Barton was involved in an incident in Liverpool city centre in the early hours of Monday morning. 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 Rs midfielder.
"Police were immediately on the scene and arrested one man. Barton decided not to press charges and left the scene with his girlfriend soon after. The club will be making no further comment."
News of the fight was widely commented on on Twitter, with 'Joey Barton' and 'Garlands' trending on the social media site.
@JoshGore_11, who claimed to have been at the scene, said Barton had "looked in a bad way" after the fight.
The Liverpool-born footballer has a long history of controversy on and off the pitch and has become well-known for his opinionated tweets. Last month he was given a 12-match ban by the Football Association after being sent off during QPR's defeat at Manchester City on the final day of the Barclays Premier League season.
He elbowed one Manchester City player, kicked out at a second and attempted to headbutt a third. QPR are also carrying out an internal investigation into the incident. In 2008, Barton was given a six-month jail term after admitting assault and affray during an incident in Liverpool.