The skipper's season has been punctuated by injury but he returned to play 90 minutes in Tuesday's goalless draw with Wolves.
Benitez believes his presence will make a huge difference as the Reds get set for a pivotal February with games against Everton, Arsenal and Man City.
"Steven has worked very hard," said Benitez.
"He did well on Tuesday but you could see in two or three of the runs that he made that he didn't quite have the match fitness that you need.
"But he was trying all the time and he kept taking good positions. Clearly he will bring a lot to the team when he is fully fit.
"We know that he is going to give us different options. We played with Alberto Aquilani as a second striker against Tottenham and we can play Steven in that role.
"When you play him in that role, he is different because he can get into the box but he also has great deliveries from set pieces which will help too. We have different players with different skills and that is going to be good for the team going forward until the end of the season."
Another man Benitez believes can play a big role as the season enters its business end is Greek defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos.
The 30-year-old has massive boots to fill after replacing the outgoing Sami Hyypia, but the gaffer thinks he's doing a more than adequate job.
"Everyone here knows that he is a good professional, a really good lad and his teammates can see that he is someone who will do anything for them," said Benitez.
"Even when he doesn't play, you know he will work very hard. Soto knew when he came here that he was only going to play specific games but he wanted to improve and when he has come in, he has done the job that we have needed him to do.
"He is good in the air and he is tough. You have to remember Sami was amazing for us. At the end, he was not playing too many games but he was just as important because of his personality and the role he had within the squad.
"On the pitch, he wasn't getting too much time because of Martin (Skrtel), Daniel (Agger) and Carra. When he left and we replaced him with Soto, he knew exactly what kind of situation he was coming in to. He's doing really well.
"Sami was terrific on the ball, he could use both feet and pass really well. He also knew the Premier League inside out. But Soto has his own qualities; he has had to adapt but he is learning now and he is doing the job we were looking for."