Ex-EPL players who have starred in the MLS across the Atlantic

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring his first goal against Wimbledon during a FA Cup third round football match at the Cherry Red Records Fans Stadium, Kingsmeadow on Jan 5, 2015. -- PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES
Liverpool's Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring his first goal against Wimbledon during a FA Cup third round football match at the Cherry Red Records Fans Stadium, Kingsmeadow on Jan 5, 2015. -- PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard will leave the English Premier League (EPL) club at the end of the current season to join an American Major League Soccer (MLS) club, reportedly Los Angeles Galaxy.

But the midfielder is not the first big-name star from the EPL to cross the Atlantic. Here are the others:

1. David Beckham

With the MLS imposing a rigid salary cap to prevent clubs from over-spending, the league had to bend its rules in 2007 to lure one of the most high-profile players of all time. Called the Designated Player Rule, the policy allowed teams to sign a star outside a footballer whose wages are beyond the salary cap. Beckham was the first to join the MLS under the new ruling, hence it became known as the Beckham Rule.

Over six years, he netted 18 times in 98 MLS games for Galaxy, with many of his goals his trademark free-kicks. In a 3-1 win over the Kansas City Wizards in 2008, Beckham scored from some 60m out, a strike reminiscent to his famous goal against Wimbledon.

The midfielder won two MLS Cups, popularised the sport and earned more fame thanks to his friendship with A-listers Tom Cruise and rapper Jay-Z and appearances on talks shows for Jimmy Fallon, Ellen DeGeneres and David Letterman.

2. Thierry Henry

Arsenal's greatest-ever scorer Henry made the move to New York Red Bulls after leaving Barcelona in 2010, where he was already 33. But the Frenchman did not treat his American stint like a holiday. He was a hit in the Big Apple after scoring 51 goals in 122 MLS games with many of them spectacular strikes. And one of the best was an outrageous bicycle kick against Montreal Impact in 2013.

After more than four years with the Red Bulls and winning the MLS Eastern Conference twice, Henry announced his retirement from the game last month.

3. Tim Cahill

The Socceroo hopped over from Everton, where he remains a cult hero, to join the New York Red Bulls in July 2012. The attacking midfielder has a healthy goal ratio so far, striking 14 times in 62 matches so far.

Cahill also has the distinction of netting the MLS' fastest-ever goal when he rammed home a piledriver after just eight seconds in a 3-0 win over Houston Dynamo in 2013.

4. Jermain Defoe

The former Tottenham Hotspur striker signed for Toronto FC on a four-year deal last February and was a success on the pitch, bagging 11 goals in 19 games. But with manager and ex-Spurs team-mate Ryan Nelsen fired last August, there is speculation that Defoe will leave the Canadian club. This January transfer window will no doubt see the striker's name being linked to a host of Premiership sides.

5. Robbie Keane

After enjoying years of top-level football in England with Tottenham, Liverpool and Leeds and in Italy with Inter Milan, Keane made the switch across the Atlantic, signing for Galaxy in 2011. The Irish striker has continued to slam the goals in at Los Angeles, with 53 strikes in 84 games so far.

With Beckham gone, the spotlight is shining even more intensely on Keane but he has lapped up the attention, winning the 2014 MLS Most Valuable Player award last year after inspiring the Galaxy to his third MLS Cup victory, after previous wins in 2011 and 2012.

6. Bradley Wright-Phillips

The less famous younger brother of Shaun Wright-Phillips started his career at Manchester City but never made the grade. He ended up drifting down to clubs like Southampton, Plymouth Argyle and Charlton Atletic before joining the New York Red Bulls in July 2013. Bradley's fortunes shot up last year when he scored 27 league goals, including three hat-tricks, to equal the season-best MLS record and win the Golden Boot.