Michael Owen has tipped two of his former clubs Liverpool and Man Utd to all-but book their place in the Champions League knockout stages with victory this week.
Both sides have collected a maximum six points each from their opening two group games and can put themselves on the brink of qualification for the next round in matchday three.
Liverpool have laboured to wins against Ajax and FC Midtjylland in recent weeks, but face arguably their sternest test on Tuesday as they meet Italian outsiders Atalanta.
The Serie A club reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season and were only denied a spot in the final four by two late PSG goals.
And while Owen expects Atalanta to ruffle Liverpool’s feathers, he believes the Merseyside club will earn a similarly narrow win in a 2-1 scoreline.
“Atalanta have been a joy to watch so far this season!” Owen told BetVictor . “They are a dangerous outfit, and with Liverpool’s frailties at the back just now, the Italians will fancy themselves to cause some problems.
“Despite conceding goals, Liverpool are finding a way to win at the moment. That’s the mark of champions, and I think whilst Atalanta will be a huge test, I fancy the Reds to come out on top.”
United also face a tricky away trip as they head to Turkey on Wednesday to battle Champions League debutants Istanbul Basaksehir.
The Red Devils have already secured important wins over PSG and Red Bull Leipzig in their perceived ‘Group of Death’, and Owen feels they’ll have no issue adding another three points to their tally.
” Manchester United are possibly the toughest conundrum in football at the moment. They have been excellent in Europe, but just can’t find any rhythm in the league,” he added.
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“Back on European duty, I think they can get another positive result. United seem like a side that are more suited to playing away from home and are at their best hitting on the counter-attack.
“Ole Gunnar Solkjaer will see this as the ideal opportunity to bounce back after the weekend defeat to Arsenal, and I think they will take the points home to Old Trafford. 2-0.”
Owen also forecast respective home wins for both Man City and Chelsea, tipping Pep Guardiola’s side to beat Olympiakos by four goals to nil, with Frank Lampard’s Blues seeing off Rennes 2-0.