Police have now arrested more than 20 German men in connection with a violent brawl which broke out in Liverpool, leaving one man critically injured.

Chairs and missiles were hurled through the air as chaos descended on Concert Square in the city centre shortly after 11pm.

Merseyside Police said the skirmish, which saw dozens of men clash, involved members of the public and door staff.

One man who was taken to hospital with a head injury is now in critical condition, the force added.

Police said more arrests were likely to follow for breach of the peace so they did not want to give an exact arrest figure.

A 23-year-old from Walton and a 28-year-old from Toxteth were also detained for public order offences.

All suspects are being held at Merseyside police stations to be interviewed.

Footage on social media showed the melee spilling into the street, with one man appearing to be body-slammed by a bouncer. Another is seen being clattered with a stool, while another clip showed a chair hurtling through the air.

Superintendent Mark Morgan said: “A large group of people were involved in this incident of disorder last night, and we are working to establish exactly why it happened.

“We are keen for anyone with information on this incident to come forward and speak to police, or Crimestoppers. We are particularly keen to hear from anyone who may have filmed the incident on a camera phone.

“We will take strong action against anyone who risks the good reputation our city centre has, and bring people responsible for incidents such as this to justice.

“We will continue to work hard with our partners to ensure the city remains a safe place, with a good reputation which encourages people to continue to enjoy what the city has to offer. Our primary aim is to protect the public and ensure they have a night out in a safe environment.”

It comes a night before Italian football fans are due to flood Merseyside for a Europa League fixture which will see Everton go head-to-head with Atalanta.

Police said the violence had prompted them to bolster policing numbers for the city centre at the time of the match.

It is thought Wednesday’s trouble began outside the Soho cocktail bar, forcing terrified punters to scatter.

Police swarmed the area shortly after 11.20pm and installed a cordon.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Merseyside Police on 101 quoting incident reference 0517299709 or the Crimestoppers line anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.