Owen, who is currently a free agent, was one of the fan favourites when he started his career with the Merseysiders and has been linked with a return to the Reds.
However, the striker went on to join Liverpool's fierce rivals Manchester United and McAteer thinks that that move has cost Owen a chance of a return to Anfield.
"I wouldn't take Owen back. I don't know if the love of the game has slightly gone out of him," McAteer told talkSPORT.
"He wasn't great at Man United. He was on the bench a lot, he picked up a few injuries, and he burnt his bridges when he went there.
"He was highly regarded at Anfield, a bit of a legend really, and he sort of took the edge off that with a move to Man United. He needs to look after himself, obviously, and he maybe went there to win things, which he did, but sometimes you don't need to make a move like that."
Liverpool are still in search of their first win in their current Premier League campaign.