Albert Riera's first-half strike and substitute Fernando Torres' late effort saw Liverpool through an increasingly difficult FA Cup third round tie with a 2-0 win over Preston.
Liverpool dominated the first half but had only Riera's effort to show for a string of wasted chances.
But in injury time Gerrard set up Torres for a simple second to settle the tie, after Preston had mounted a brave rally that saw them just fail to force a replay at Anfield.
Richard Chaplow and Neil Mellor both went close for the home side before Liverpool were ahead after 24 minutes.
Riera picked up a fortunate deflection on the right of the box, and although there was a clear opportunity to drill the ball into the danger area, the Spaniard opted to cut inside and crack the ball into the top corner with his left foot.
Liverpool then had a string of chances near the break to settle the issue. Robbie Keane should have made it two when he squirmed clear in the area, but Andy Lonergan saved bravely at his feet.
Then Keane produced an even worse effort, arriving in the box to meet a Gerrard cross, only to send his shot hopelessly wide.
Liverpool sent on Lucas for a limping Xabi Alonso at the break, and within minutes Daniel Agger had headed narrowly wide from a corner.
Preston had an effort disallowed after 64 minutes when Sean St Ledger netted, only for Jon Parkin to be penalised for holding down Jamie Carragher.
And in injury time Gerrard broke away to set up Torres for a simple tap-in to clinch the game.
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