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Graeme Souness RINGS UP talkSPORT to slam Martin Keown over Mark Lawrenson and Alan Hansen comments

Published on: 05 March 2021

Graeme Souness and Martin Keown clashed live on talkSPORT after the latter critcised Liverpool duo Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson for always passing the ball back to the goalkeeper.

Keown was discussing how the backpass rule has improved the game and claimed Hansen and Lawrenson wasted time by regularly giving the ball back to goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar during a 1988 FA Cup fourth round tie.

But Souness, who played alongside the duo in the Liverpool side that dominated football in the 1980s, then rang up the radio station to complain to Keown about his comments and praise his former team-mates for their ball-playing ability.

Keown had initially said: 'The backpass rule changed the game massively. Think about Liverpool and Hansen and Lawrenson just rolling it back to the keeper.

'He just kept picking it up. Grobbelaar, the goalkeeper would just pick it up every time you got near it.'

But a short while later, Souness rang up the station to speak to the former Arsenal and Villa defender about his comments.

The former Liverpool man said: 'I nearly crashed my car, Martin, after what you said. I understand there have been improvements to the game, without a shadow of a doubt, but I totally disagree with you in terms of Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson.

'You could've picked any other partnership that was playing football at that time and called them out on what they would do by going back to the goalkeeper at every opportunity when put under pressure.

'But you've named the best two footballing centre-halves that arguably this country has ever seen!

'Alan Hansen, there's never been a better footballing centre-half. I played with him, Martin, and I can tell you, Lawro wasn't far behind him.'

Keown refused to back down on his comments and insisted that passing back to the goalkeeper was typical of the Liverpool side at the time.

He claimed: 'They (Hansen and Lawrenson) could've attacked, they could've picked any pass they wanted, but they went back to the goalkeeper.

'You'll have to ask them why they did that, but that was Liverpool at that time.'

Souness also refused to back down, replying: 'Martin, I played with them for about 300 games! I know how good they were. You couldn't get the ball off them, they were midfield players in disguise, that's how technically good they were.

'The last thing they would do is go back because every part of their training was geared to go forward.

'You made it sound, for somebody who's not seen them play, like they couldn't play. That's how it sounded. You could not have picked a worse two to give an example of.'

Keown claimed he had seen both Hansen and Lawrenson play for Liverpool as he tried to emulate the pair when he was coming through the game.

The former Premier League winner said: 'I'm well-versed on those two players, Graeme, as a youngster coming through, I'd watch them.

'But if they needed to manage games, they would put it in row Z if they needed to. If it needed to go back to the goalkeeper, they'd do that.

'Get the tape out from that game against Villa and see how many times they go back to the goalkeeper! It was stunning.'


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