Graeme Souness 'nearly crashed car' after listening to Alan Hansen comments from Keown

Graeme Souness took issue with Martin Keown’s comments back in 2021 (Image: Getty)

Former Liverpool star Graeme Souness was left so frustrated by Martin Keown’s comments about his old team that he claimed he nearly crashed his car.

The 71-year-old, known for his no-nonsense approach, felt compelled to call into talkSPORT after hearing Keown criticise the defensive tactics of Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson during a 2021 broadcast.

Ex-Arsenal defender Keown was discussing the impact of the back-pass rule, arguing it had improved the game as players like Hansen and Lawrenson would often waste time passing back to goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar.

And a furious Souness phoned in to challenge Keown’s assertions. As a former team-mate of Hansen and Lawrenson in the dominant Liverpool side of the 1980s, Souness defended their playing style – insisting they were not as cynical as Keown suggested.

“I nearly crashed my car, Martin, after what you said,” Souness retorted over the phone. “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!”

Keown stood his ground, countering with: “They could’ve picked any pass they wanted, but they went back to the goalkeeper.”

Souness responded strongly though: “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.”

On Sunday afternoon, Liverpool announced that Hansen, aged 68, was “seriously ill” in hospital. The statement read: “The club is currently in contact with Alan’s family to provide our support at this difficult time, and our thoughts, wishes and hopes are with Alan and all of the Hansen family.”

Hansen’s illustrious career at Liverpool began in 1977, spanning 14 years and filled with silverware. His accolades include eight First Division titles, two FA Cups, four League Cups, and three European Cups.

During most of his tenure, he formed a legendary defensive partnership with Lawrenson, now 67, as they became one of English football’s most revered centre-back duos. Souness, whose Liverpool stint lasted from 1978 to 1984, also boasts an impressive collection of honours, including three European Cups and five First Division titles.