Liverpool. . .2
LIVERPOOL's limp-along start to the season continues, the team they all used to fear fast acquiring a lame-duck reputation after scraping a fortuitous draw against unfancied opponents, fresh from the Second Division.
Ipswich, unbeaten since their promotion as champions, were denied the win their bright play deserved by an astonishing gaffe by Bob Hamer, the Bristol referee.
They were pressing insistently when a Liverpool breakout saw Dean Saunders scuttle away in pursuit of Jan Molby's long through ball. The Welsh striker was dispossessed, clean as a whistle, by Phil Whelan's saving tackle, and the award of a penalty left the impression that Hamer was as green as those natty new shirts.
Molby was coolness personified from 12 yards, and Liverpool were 2-1 up with 20 minutes left. But equality, and justice, came in stoppage time when Chris Kiwomya got his head to Whelan's shot and diverted it past David James.
Graeme Souness had called for greater physical commitment - an exhortation unheard of at Anfield these last 30 years. He got it, but Liverpool were still second best, and it was against the run of play when Mark Walters gave them a 40th-minute lead.
There was nothing remotely tentative about Ipswich's approach, which was to spread play in all directions, stretching Liverpool with sweeping cross-field passes.
Paul Goddard had a shot deflected, and when Liverpool came under pressure again Steve Harkness panicked on his own goal-line and passed the ball straight to Whelan. To the relief of Harkness - in for the error-prone Nicky Tanner - the full-back's cross was headed over by Kiwomya.
Within a minute, Nick Stockwell's centre presented Kiwomya with an identical chance. The header was accurate this time, but lacked the power to inconvenience James.
Liverpool had their moments, a 25-yard free-kick from Molby demanding a spectacular save from Craig Forrest, who could scarcely believe his good fortune when Saunders volleyed over.
Good chances, both, but this was another fitful performance by Liverpool, who were flattered by Walters' opening strike.
For once, Ipswich were let down by John Wark, who lost possession just outside his penalty area, enabling Saunders to send in Ian Rush for a strong shot, which Forrest could only parry. Walters was in quickly for a predator's finish.
Ipswich were level after 56 minutes when Jason Dozzell beat James to a cross from Neil Thompson to score with a header.
The nonsensical penalty turned logic on its head, but a monstrous injustice was averted by Kiwomya's late, late intervention.
Ipswich: Forrest; Whelan, Thompson, Stockwell, Wark, Linighan, Williams, Goddard (Milton, 73), Johnson, Dozzell, Kiwomya. Substitutes not used: Youds, Baker (gk).
Liverpool: James; Jones, Burrows, Harkness, Whelan, Wright, Saunders (McManaman, 77), Stewart, Rush, Molby, Walters. Substitutes not used: Marsh, Grobbelaar (gk).
Referee: R Hamer (Bristol).