The Reds captain struck home from the spot with eight minutes remaining of an end-to-end contest to seal the three points.
Luis Suarez had put the Reds ahead on 21 minutes with a slick instant finish from Jose Enrique's pass in the box.
Spurs equalised just before half-time when centre-back Jan Vertonghen headed Gareth Bale's centre home from yards out.
The visitors' No.5 then put them in front shortly after the break when he lashed home a loose ball in the box from a free-kick the Reds couldn't clear to safety.
But Liverpool levelled on 66 minutes when Hugo Lloris made a mess of trying to deal with a wayward back pass, allowing Stewart Downing to go through on goal and drill into the net with the 'keeper out of position.
Then it was left to Gerrard to have the final say after Beniot Assou-Ekotto had brought down Suarez in the box - and the No.8 made no mistake with a low finish to clinch victory and move the Reds up to sixth in the Barclays Premier League.
The pre-match team news confirmed Pepe Reina would miss the contest due to injury, with Brad Jones deputising in the absence of the Spaniard. Daniel Sturridge, however, returned to an attack-minded starting XI after a knock.
Meanwhile, Jamie Carragher notched up his 500th league appearance for the club - only the second man to do so in Anfield history following Ian Callaghan.
Having fired 12 goals in their last three games, Liverpool began with positive intent - and Sturridge threatened to break the deadlock with five minutes on the clock when he knocked the ball around Lloris. But, his touch took him too wide of goal to score and Spurs were able to recover.
At the other end, a swerving Bale free-kick from distance was pushed out by Jones as the visitors began to edge their way into the contest.
However, Liverpool's bright start was rewarded on 21 minutes when Suarez opened the scoring. Collecting Enrique's pass into space, the Uruguayan finished neatly first time underneath Lloris from close range.
Spurs' response saw Gylfi Sigurdsson drive inches wide of the post from the edge of the box before Assou-Ekotto struck straight at Jones.
An equaliser did arrive for Tottenham on the stroke of half-time. Bale's deep cross from the right found the head of Vertonghen, who glanced into the bottom corner beyond Jones having remained forward from a set piece.
Spurs then went in front on 53 minutes, with their Belgian centre-back again on target. This time, Liverpool couldn't clear a Bale free-kick into the box and Vertonghen was on hand to prod into the back of the net from eight yards.
They could have extended their lead even further moments later when Bale picked out the unmarked Sigurdsson in the box, but a combination of Jones, Glen Johnson and the post denied the midfielder.
The Londoners had looked the more threatening of the teams in the second half, but on 66 minutes Liverpool were level.
Kyle Walker's attempted back pass from the halfway line was wayward and Lloris only succeeded in knocking the ball against Downing as he raced from his line to clear. The winger was able to go through and drill through the legs of Vertonghen to restore parity.
Spirits lifted, Downing then crossed for Sturridge to head into the side netting as the Reds went in search of a winner.
It duly arrived with eight minutes left on the Anfield scoreboard. Assou-Ekotto barged Suarez over inside the box, giving Gerrard the chance to score from the penalty spot - and the skipper retained his composure to find the bottom corner and seal the win.
Liverpoolfc.com journalists' man of the match: Stewart Downing