"I was reading something from Alan Hansen during the summer and it really brought it home to me," the 30-year-old told LFC Magazine.
"You can't criticise much of what Liverpool teams of the past did when Hansen was playing. Obviously they were the best team around but it was interesting to read him say that sometimes Liverpool won the league even though they didn't have a particularly great side.
"I'm not saying bad Liverpool teams ever won the league - of course they didn't. But maybe a few years ago you could afford to carry a few players.
"I don't think that's possible now. Every position has got to be filled by a top player if you want to win things on a consistent basis.
"Look at the other top sides in the Premier League: even the full-back positions are filled with the best full-backs in the world now.
"Years ago you could probably get away with carrying the odd player here or there.
"It was good for me to hear that from someone who actually played back then rather than it coming from current players, where it'd probably just sound like an excuse.
"Basically what Hansen was saying was that it's more difficult to win the league now than in his day. The standards have been raised much higher over the past five to 10 years, especially with the Chelsea situation and what's happening there.
"That means our standards have to be higher."