LIVERPOOL survived a scare to book their place in the group stages of the Europa League – requiring Luis Suarez’s late goal to settle the threat of an upset.
The Reds had dominated his final play off second leg at Anfield for long periods, but wasted a number of decent openings.
And when David Templeton struck with six minutes remaining – with the help of a blunder from goalkeeper Pepe Reina – extra-time loomed.
But Suarez, guilty of missing chances, finally produced when Liverpool most needed it and with two minutes left fired past Jamie MacDonald to reclaim his side’s one goal advantage in the tie.
Brendan Rodgers’ men progress into tomorrow’s draw but know they will have to perform better to make headway in the tournament.
Hearts started as they finished - confident and positive.
They were quick to remind this changed, yet still strong, Liverpool side that the tie was anything but over.
Captain Marius Zaliukas fired a volley just wide of Pepe Reina’s goal as the visitors got amongst the Reds and upset their attempts to build rhythm and momentum.
It took Liverpool time to overcome that.
Morgan had a shot from distance saved at the second attempt by Jamie MacDonald before the Hearts goalkeeper produced a fine stop to deny Steven Gerrard who had engineered his own chance by weaving a path into the area.
Luis Suarez was a constant source of energy and ideas but even he was not operating as slickly as usual.
The Uruguayan though went the closest of any player in the half when his header was cleared off the line.
Morgan thought he had capped his full senior debut with a goal 10 minutes before the break but as he tapped in Suarez’s pull-back from the by-line, the referee’s assistant ruled the ball had gone out of play.
Liverpool carried the increasing threat into the second half and 25 minutes to go, the Kop rose in anticipation as Suarez strode on to Jordan Henderson’s through ball.
Suarez rounded the goalkeeper but hesitated.
Defender Ryan McGowan blocked his slender glimpse of goal and with a hint of good fortune, saw the Uruguayan’s shot rebound off the inside of his legs, onto the post and out for a corner.
A minute later Suarez collected the ball 10 yards from goal, but saw his shot of the turn fly wide of the far post.
Gerrard whistled an effort agonisingly past MacDonald’s post whilst Raheem Sterling’s introduction added a spark to the Liverpool attack and from one his jinking runs, the Liverpool captain forced a close range save from MacDonald.
Their dominance made the opening goal all the more shocking.
David Templeton struck from distance, straight at Reina, but the Spaniard spilled the ball into the net.
The travelling army of fans from Edinburgh erupted with joy.
But a game which drifted struggled for excitement suddenly burst into life and Suarez finally found the finish.
A drop of the shoulder got him away from the defender following Fabio Borini’s pass before pace and control evaded the challenge of Zaliukas has he moved into the area.
And when the sight of goal appeared, Surez fired a low left footed effort to finally break Hearts’ resolve.
LIVERPOOL (4-3-3) Reina, Kelly, Carragher, Skrtel, Downing, Allen, Henderson (Borini 76), Shelvey, Gerrard, Morgan (Sterling 62), Suarez. Subs: Jones, Johnson, Enrique, Agger, Coates, Borini, Sterling.
Red Cards: None
HEARTS (4-5-1) McDonald, McGowan, Webster, Zaliukas ©, Grainger, Paterson, Taouil, Templeton, Barr, Novikovas (Carrick 75), Sutton (Driver 66). Subs: Hamilton, Robinson, Driver, Holt, McGowan, McHattie, Carrick.
Goals: Templeton (84)
Cautions: Barr, Grainger
Red Cards: None
Referee: Vladislav Bezborodov
Attendance: 44, 361