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Chelsea midfielder Ramires will sit out the remainder of the Premier League season after accepting a four-game ban for violent conduct.
The Brazilian was hit with the Football Association charge after being found guilty of striking Sunderland’s Sebastian Larsson in an off-the-ball incident during last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat.
Ramires had until 6pm on Thursday to respond to the charge, but decided not to contest it, meaning he will sit out this weekend’s clash with Liverpool along with the remaining two games against Norwich and Cardiff.
The fourth and final match of the ban will be served at the start of next season.
Ramires would normally have been handed a three-game ban, but was given an additional match following his sending-off against Aston Villa last month.
The news is another headache for Jose Mourinho, who has a number of injury problems to contend with as he plans for Sunday’s game with Liverpool and the Champions League semi-final second leg with Atletico Madrid.
Mourinho has already hinted he will field a weakened side against Liverpool as the Atletico clash is now the priority, but the loss of Ramires will weaken it further.
Chelsea are 4.95 to pull off the win and close the gap to two points on the leaders at Anfield, while Liverpool are 1.63, the draw 3.93.