Liverpool 1 Steaua 0
By Peter ORourke
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Harry Kewell's second half header was enough to give Gerard Houllier's men the win and see off a brave challenge from Steaua.
Steaua almost stunned the home fans with an early goal after just two minutes when Falemi Nana sent Claudiu Raducanu through on goal, but the striker just lobbed his shot over the on-rushing Chris Kirkland and onto the top of the netting.
Liverpool missed a glorious chance to break the deadlock three minutes later when Michael Owen got on the end of Steven Gerrard's inviting free kick, but the England star got too much on his header sending it over the crossbar.
Reds captain Steven Gerrard, who was given more licence to attack with Dietmar Hamann back in the side, went close on eight minutes bursting into the box with a flashing header from Harry Kewell's cross which unfortunately went straight at Vasili Hamutovski.
Steaua continued to look dangerous in attack and Marian Aliuta had Kirkland scrambling across his goal with a shot from 25 yards out which fizzed just inches wide of the post.
The visitors missed a great opportunity to open the scoring on 36 minutes when Valeriu Rachita picked out Gabriel Bostina inside the box with a superb long ball, but Bostina got his bearings all wrong miscuing his header well wide much to the relief of his marker Salif Diao.
Liverpool survived a penalty scare three minutes after the restart when Igor Biscan got himself caught up in a terrible mix-up inside the box under pressure Raducanu and the striker went down looking for a penalty, but Steaua's appeals were waved away.
Seconds later Liverpool grabbed the crucial breakthrough with Kewell rising highest to meet Gerrard's right-wing cross with a powerful downward header past Hamutovski.
Steaua's danger man Raducanu had a half chance for the visitors just past the hour mark when the ball broke nicely for him inside the area, but off balance he fired his left foot shot well wide.
Owen really should added a second for Liverpool after 71 minutes when he raced onto Gerrard's pass and skipped his way into the box, but with only Hamutovski to beat he chipped his shot over just wide of the target.
Steaua substitute Nicolae Laurentiu Dinita almost drew his side level three minutes from time as he cut inside Sami Hyypia and sent a left-foot shot just wide of the goal, but Liverpool held on to book their place in the next round.