(CNN) -- Luis Suarez returned to the Liverpool team for the first time since serving his ban for biting an opponent -- but not even his presence could detract from his team's toothless display.
The Uruguay striker, who was suspended by the English Football Association after biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic last April, played the full 90 minutes during Wednesday's 1-0 League Cup defeat by fierce rival Manchester United.
Suarez, 26, was heavily fined by the club following the incident and had been linked with a move away from Anfield before stating his desire to stay on Merseyside.
In his first competitive outing for Liverpool since last season, he looked short of match practice and wasted several opportunities during an uninspiring contest.
Javier Hernandez's second-half strike gave United manager David Moyes a much-needed victory following his side's 4-1 Premier League defeat by neighbor Manchester City last Sunday.
Liverpool had chances of its own and Suarez did hit the crossbar with a sweetly struck free kick.
The return of the English Premier League's "enfant terrible" had been greeted with much anticipation -- but there was little in the way of controversy on this occasion.
Suarez is a hate figure at Old Trafford after he was found guilty by the FA of racially abusing United's Patrice Evra in 2011.
He was hit with an eight-match ban and fined $63,000.
Suarez also courted controversy in Holland while at Ajax where he was banned for seven games after biting PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal's shoulder during a match in November 2010.
He is set to make his first Premier League start this season at bottom club Sunderland on Sunday.
Meanwhile, League Cup holder Swansea suffered a 3-1 defeat at 2011 winner Birmingham City while there were also wins for Arsenal, Newcastle and Stoke.
Elsewhere in Europe, Roma is the only side left in the Italian top flight with a 100% record after securing a 2-0 away win over Sampdoria -- its best start to a Serie A season.
Second-half goals from Mehdi Benatia -- his first in Serie A -- and another from Gervinho ensured Rudi Garcia's side moved two points clear at the top of the table thanks to a fifth successive league win of the season.
Rafa Benitez's Napoli was surprisingly held 1-1 at home by bottom-of-the-table Sassuolo, which had suffered a shock 7-0 home defeat to Inter Milan at the weekend and prior to Wednesday had failed to win a single point.
The draw left Napoli two points behind Roma and level with champion Juventus, which won 2-1 at Chievo.
AC Milan scored twice in the dying minutes to draw 3-3 at Bologna, while Lazio bounced back from its derby defeat to Roma by beating 10-man Catania 3-1.
Inter Milan could join Napoli and Juve on 13 points if it wins at home to Fiorentina on Thursday.
In France, Ligue 1 leader Monaco remained two points clear of champion Paris Saint-Germain with a 3-0 victory at home to Bastia.
Emmanuel Riviere opened the scoring for Monaco before Ligue 1's top scorer Radamel Falcao's brace helped maintain Monaco's unbeaten start to the season.
PSG's record signing Edinson Cavani netted the only goal in first-half stoppage time as Laurent Blanc's side won 1-0 away to lowly Valenciennes.
"We burned a lot of energy in the Monaco match and only had three days to recover. It was a difficult match in all senses," PSG coach Blanc told reporters, referring to Sunday's 1-1 draw with the promoted principality club.
"But the important thing is to have taken the three points because we'll have plenty of matches like that over the course of the season."
It was Valenciennes' sixth successive defeat, which left the club second from bottom on just three points.
Cristiano Ronaldo netted a dramatic penalty to give Real Madrid a fortuitous 2-1 win over newly promoted Elche.
Ronaldo had given Real a 51st minute lead before Elche hit back through Richmond Boakye in the first minute of added time.
But Real snatched victory at the death when Ronaldo slotted home from the spot to break Elche hearts.