The England midfielder came on at half-time to put in an inspiring performance against Napoli, scoring three times in the last 15 minutes to secure a 3-1 win.
Hodgson admitted he would have preferred to have kept his captain on the bench but hopes the 45-minute run-out will have been just enough to keep the 30-year-old ticking over ahead of the visit of the Premier League leaders.
"I'm hoping he hasn't taken too much out of himself before Sunday, because we are going to need him to do that for the whole of the game against Chelsea," said the Reds boss, who had the luxury of leaving striker Fernando Torres out of his European squad on Thursday.
"Fernando is working hard in training and he's looking more like his old self.
"It's a pleasure to have a player of that quality to work with.
"Steven and Fernando are two wonderful quality players, but can't just rely on Fernando and Steven in every game because if ever one or two of them has a slightly lesser game we need to show we will not throw the towel in.
"We've got to have a few people nailing their colours to the mast and making certain they step up and make sure we are a good team.
"Maxi Rodriguez is a good example of this with his goal against Bolton last week.
"He is someone who has come into the team and done extremely well.
"Sotirios Kyrgiakos is another. He didn't play much last season but he is now playing very well for us."
Teenager Jonjo Shelvey is hoping his display against Napoli will be enough for him to earn a place on the bench tomorrow.
"It would be amazing just to be in the squad against Chelsea, but I've just to keep working hard and show what I can do," said the 18-year-old.
"I would play anywhere for this team, even left-back if I was asked to.
"We feel we are getting stronger and hopefully we can keep the good run going against Chelsea and get even better."
Shelvey is one of the players Hodgson is likely to have been referring to when he spoke about those who were taking their chances to impress in a much-changed European side.
"I had the Chelsea team very clearly in my head (before Napoli)," he said.
"What has happened is one or two players who I think deserve a chance from time to time because I think they have the ability to play in the first team have shown me I am right."