"It's a good sign he said that because it takes a certain type of player to be able to face up and be so honest," Hodgson told the club website.
"It's better coming from him than from me.
"When people look at him or, say, Fernando [Torres] to criticise, I as a manager feel it comes upon me in my responsibilities to stand in the way.
"I've got to protect because I know how hard both of them work and I know how badly they want to play well for Liverpool.
"Football is not a science. It is a sport. Sometimes you are in better form than others. If you are a good player, like Joe and like Fernando, you play better more often.
"He is a quality player but we haven't seen the best of him - absolutely not. There is more to come from him and he knows that."
Cole was replaced by David Ngog on 62 minutes on Sunday and the Frenchman could start against Chelsea this weekend, although Hodgson may choose to bolster his midfield by including Christian Poulsen, Milan Jovanovic or Ryan Babel.
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