Preston North End 0 Liverpool 2

Liverpool eased into the fourth round of the FA Cup without having to get into top gear against Championship side Preston North End.

Preston had the first chance after five minutes when captain Paul McKenna was fouled and Ross Wallace - who is on loan from Sunderland - hit a 25-yard free-kick which Liverpool keeper Diego Cavalieri turned away for a corner.

Steven Gerrard replied for Liverpool with a 20-yard shot which was saved and Preston central midfielder Richard Chaplow had a 20-yard effort similarly repelled.

Ex-Liverpool striker Neil Mellor got down the left wing and cut inside Sami Hyypia and hit a 20-yard right foot shot which was saved.

Liverpool made it 1-0 in the 25th minute when Chaplow didn't clear the ball, Xabi Alonso crossed with the assist and Albert Riera on the right-hand byline cut inside before hitting a stunning left-foot shot high into the net from an impossible angle.

Chaplow was the only booking of the game after 34 minutes for a foul on Alonso and it was the Spaniard who had a shot saved just before half-time after Robbie Keane had a left-foot effort turned away.

Liverpool's man of the match Gerrard forced two good saves out of Preston keeper Andy Lonergan.

On the hour-mark a 25-yard lob and then a 20-yard shot which was tipped over for a corner.

If Jon Parkin hadn't have pulled back Jamie Carragher, Preston might have equalised on 64 minutes when a Chaplow cross was headed home by Sean St Ledger but this was disallowed for the foul.

Carragher fouled Wallace on the left and McKenna hit a free-kick across goal which hit St Ledger on the leg from close range and was saved.

Late in the game, Gerrard had another 20-yard shot which was saved and then, in the third minute of added time, a long ball by Carragher found Gerrard and he ran through before squaring the ball unselfishly to substitute Fernando Torres and he scored from three yards to finish the game.