Bridge Banter: Can you hear it? That Chelsea v Liverpool drumbeat is getting louder and louder

No chance: Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is playing down the chances of winning the Premier League

No chance: Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is playing down the chances of winning the Premier League

First published in Sport Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by

The drumbeat is getting louder, counting down the moments to the all-important lunchtime clash between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on Sunday April 27.

Yet, oddly, if the Blues upset predictions and beat the Reds in their manor, there’s a slim chance it could crown Manchester City champions.

Jose Mourinho continues – quite properly – to play down Chelsea’s chances of winning the Premier League title, as it is really now in Liverpool’s hands.

But it may not be as cut and dried as some think.

Dan Sturridge has a dodgy hamstring, Jordan Henderson has a three-match suspension and Luis Suarez, for all his scoring prowess, can be his own worst enemy when it comes to attracting yellow cards.

Chelsea maintained their interest in the outcome of the title race by scrappily beating Swansea 1-0, thanks to the largely forgotten striker Demba Ba.

Ba is enjoying an unexpectedly influential spell 16 months into a 42-month contract at Stamford Bridge; an attachment that is still expected to end with his departure for pastures new in May.

His weekend goal, and the strike against Paris St-Germain, which kept the Blues in the Champions League, have done his sell-on value no harm.

First up for Chelsea, before the away leg of the Atletico Madrid European Cup double-header, is the visit of seemingly doomed Sunderland at the weekend.

Mourinho does not believe the long-term future of either Ba or Fernando Torres is in SW6, and will begin the 2014-15 season by buying in a new front man from abroad, even if there is clamour from within Stamford Bridge to at least consider recalling Romelu Lukaku, who has been scoring for fun for loan clubs since 2011.

Chelsea hope Lukaku’s fellow Belgian Eden Hazard will have recovered from a calf strain to face Atletico – at least in the home tie on April 30.

By then the Premiership title race will have undergone another twist.

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