Hodgson's men head to Ukraine knowing victory would blast open the door to automatic World Cup qualification.
However, defeat will take England to the edge of an abyss, handing not just the initiative to their opponents with only two games left but offering Montenegro a chance to leapfrog them into a play-off spot.
It is not the most comfortable position to be in, particularly when your squad has been shorn of forwards.
But Hodgson takes solace in Gerrard's man-of-the-match display in Friday night's 4-0 win over Moldova.
He just wishes he had a few more like him.
"It will be a night for big performances," said Hodgson.
"When I look at the quality of Gerrard's against Moldova, if we can get half a dozen playing at that level it will take a good team to beat us.
"It is not always I am 100 per cent in agreement when a man-of-the-match award is announced but I was this time."
Although Hodgson has the option to make changes; Michael Carrick could come in for Frank Lampard and Jermain Defoe's outstanding performance in training on Thursday makes him a viable alternative to Rickie Lambert, it is hard to see beyond England retaining the same starting line-up, with James Milner replacing suspended Manchester United man Danny Welbeck.
It would propel Lambert into the biggest game of his life.
Not that it would faze the Southampton man, who, at 31, has become the first player in 37 years to score in his first two appearances for England.
Even better, a player who spent most of his career in the lower leagues - he was an unused substitute at Stockport 10 years ago yesterday - has shown no sign of being overawed by sharing a dressing room with so many high-profile stars.
"Rickie is a very mature person who has seen all that football has to offer," said Hodgson.
"He has also seen if you are not in football, what life has to offer is maybe not as good comparably.
"The most important thing for Rickie is to feel confident, has the confidence of the coach and the coaching staff and to feel the players have confidence in him.
"You don't see anyone not wanting to give him the ball. I have not seen any sign of him not being very well integrated."
In a group that has rarely been easy to read, a clear picture has now emerged for England.
The absence of Welbeck, who, following Friday's brace is remarkably now just one goal away from matching Ian Wright's England tally, does not help given Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge are also missing.
As expected, Sturridge has been ruled out with a groin injury which has not responded to treatment.
So, whilst Hodgson had retained an outside hope the Liverpool man would have been fit, in the end it was deemed pointless for Sturridge to even travel down to Watford ahead of planned tests on Sunday.
"Club England medical staff have been in constant contact with their counterparts at Liverpool football club since he returned there on Thursday, his injury has not progressed as had been hoped and it is now clear that Sturridge will not be fit for the match in Kiev on Tuesday evening," said an FA statement.
"We can't deny the competition for places at centre-forward has been diminished enormously," added Hodgson.
"Had Rooney been available would he have been a clear alternative (to Lambert)? Yes he would."
But the England boss retains a belief in his team, as do the bookmakers who make the Three Lions overwhelming favourites to top the group and seal automatic qualification for next summer's tournament in Brazil.
Interestingly, whilst Ukraine have posted excellent results away from home, defeat to Montenegro in their only match of any significance on home soil, suggests they prefer to play on the counter-attack, something Hodgson believes the group situation does not afford them next week.
"They need to win," said he said.
"There is no guarantee a draw will be that suitable for them because it will take qualification out of their hands. We will be a point ahead of them with two games left.
"They have to win and they are not going to do that by putting eight players behind the ball and wasting time when the ball goes out of play.
"They will do it by attacking us."