Alvaro Arbeloa agrees with Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard about West Ham fans

Real Madrid's Alvaro Arbeloa during the press conference

West Ham United and Liverpool are fighting at opposite ends of the Premier League table and clash at Anfield this weekend.

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic before the matchUnder pressure: West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic

The Hammers are languishing down in 17th place in the table as they endure a torrid second season under Slaven Bilic.

Meanwhile Liverpool are looking in great shape under Jurgen Klopp and sit in third place just four points off leaders Chelsea with their eyes firmly fixed on a title tilt.

Liverpool manager Juergen KloppLiverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Sunday's match at Anfield is crucial for both sides for different reasons after Liverpool's 4-3 defeat to Bournemouth last time out while the Hammers were thrashed 5-1 by Arsenal.

But while the teams on the pitch are poles apart this season, the fans in the stands are very much on a par as some of the best in the country.

That's according to veteran West Ham defender Alvaro Arbeloa who echoed comments from his former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard when discussing similarities between the two sets of fans in an interview on the club's official website.

West Ham United's Alvaro ArbeloaWest Ham United's Alvaro Arbeloa

“Liverpool are a massive club and there is a good feeling between the fans and the team," Arbeloa told whufc.com.

“I can see a lot of comparisons with West Ham because when I first came to London I knew they also had really good fans and there is a great connection between the players and the fans.

“I could see that when I used to play for Liverpool at the Boleyn Ground and I could feel that from the West Ham fans. It is important to have that kind of support and they are among the best supporters in England.”

The Spaniard's sentiments are similar to those of Reds legend Gerrard when speaking in his autobiography.

Gerrard said the Hammers supporters are the kind that 'make football special' after the way they conducted themselves despite watching their side agonisingly miss out on what would have been their first trophy for 26 years back in the 2006 FA Cup final.

The match, held at The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff while Wembley was being rebuilt, was dubbed the Gerrard Final such was the Liverpool skipper's influence in dragging his side back from 2-0 and then 3-2 down to eventually win on penalties.

It was one of the greatest FA Cup finals of all time, but for Gerrard the Hammers fans gave him his most cherished memory of that day.

Steven Gerrard celebrates after scoring the first goal for LiverpoolSteven Gerrard

He said: "Everyone associated with West Ham behaved with real dignity in Cardiff, just like the way I try to be in defeat.

"If they had won, Liverpool could not have complained. Too many of our players were too disappointing. West Ham were desperately unfortunate to lose. Having played so well, it must have been gut-wrenching to go home without the FA Cup, yet they were all gracious.

"It really moved me that in their hour of utter desolation, West Ham fans stayed behind to applaud as I lifted the FA Cup. I’ll never forget that sporting gesture.

Steven Gerrard and manager Rafael Benitez - Liverpool celebrate winning the FA Cup while holding the trophySteven Gerrard and manager Rafael Benitez celebrate winning the FA Cup

"I’m Liverpool through and through, head to toe, but I have a place in my heart for West Ham supporters after Cardiff. Fans like West Ham United’s make football special.

"Usually when we do a lap of honour with a cup, the opponents’ section is empty. The fans have disappeared, dragging their heartache with them. Not in Cardiff on 13 May 2006.

"The West Ham fans were tremendous, clapping us as we paraded the cup."

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