Finding himself charged with violent conduct by the Football Association late on Wednesday, Chelsea midfielder Ramires had until 6PM BST today to contest the charge. Having chosen not to do so, the player now begins his four match ban for striking out at Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson during last week's home defeat that saw Chelsea all but mathematically eliminated from contention for the league title. The suspension is a further blow to the London club's hopes, though with Ramires one of Chelsea's worst against Sunderland, perhaps not much of one.
With referee Mike Dean having missed the incident, a panel of three former referees was charged with reviewing it for the FA, and they ruled unanimously against Ramires and saw fit to hand the player a four mach ban. Chelsea assistant manager Rui Faria has also been charged for his attempts to physically confront the officials during the match, while Jose Mourinho has until Monday to respond to charges of misconduct and bringing the game into disrepute for his sarcastic praise of them following the first Stamford Bridge loss of his career.
The 19th century football aficionado has increasingly found himself on the wrong side of the FA and is currently appealing an £8000 fine for breaking the terms of an earlier touchline ban. Meanwhile, as part of his continuing efforts to make everything about Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager is telling anyone who will listen of his plans to play a weakened side against Liverpool. It's blatant excuse-making. It also frames the narrative such that any Liverpool success is only because Jose Mourinho decided there were more important things for him to focus on and let them have it.
Of course, if he somehow wins against all the odds, he now stands to bask in even greater glory for overcoming the hardship of only having been allowed a £110M gross, £53M net transfer spend and loaning out his best striker. For Jose Mourinho, it's only ever about what he can do to further the cult of Jose Mourinho. Despite his typical bluster, though, this season the only side his supposed mind games have seemed to undo are Chelsea, who have lately tumbled from their position amongst the title favourites to all but mathematically out of the running.
While he's been off talking horses and pressure and multiple competitions to a London press that remain all too willing to unquestionably lap up what he's feeding them, Liverpool have been busy doing the job of winning football matches. Ramires or no; weakened lineup or no; self-important bluster or no, Liverpool need to head into Sunday unconcerned by the noises coming out of the Chelsea camp and focused on what they need to do. Win or lose, on the evidence so far, that at least shouldn't be a problem.