Everton midfielder Ross Barkley "the victim of unprovoked attack" say lawyers
Everton midfielder Ross Barkley "was the victim of an unprovoked attack" in a bar on Sunday, lawyers acting on his behalf have said.
Merseyside Police have confirmed they have opened an investigation following the emergence of footage appearing to show the 23-year-old being punched.
The incident is alleged to have taken place in Liverpool city centre, some time after Barkley featured in Everton's 4-2 victory over Leicester on the same day.
A statement from lawyers read: "We can confirm that Ross was the victim of an unprovoked attack by a stranger who approached him on Sunday evening."
Press Association Sport understands Barkley was not seriously hurt and trained on Monday as usual.
Footage of the alleged incident has appeared online via social media. The matter was not reported to police but is being looked into.
A statement read: "Merseyside Police is 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."
Barkley played 90 minutes against Leicester but his future was thrown into doubt after the game as manager Ronald Koeman said the player would have to be sold if he does not sign a new contract.
The Academy graduate's current deal expires at the end of next season.
Koeman said: "We offer him a new contract, and then (there are) two possibilities.
"One, he signs that contract. If he doesn't sign that contract then we need to sell the player."
Santa Chupitos, where the alleged incident took place, said the member of staff responsible for leaking video footage had been sacked.
Tweeting from the account @santachupitos. the venue said: "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."