"The important thing - we win", Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said.
New manager Nigel Pearson left Anfield with every reason to be proud of his Watford side's performance on an afternoon when the Hornets had enough chances to claim a shock victory against the Premier League leaders.
The Frenchman led Real to three Champions League titles, the last of which saw them beating Liverpool in the 2017/18 season.
At 39 per cent, Vardy also has a shot-conversion rate better than any other player in Europe's "Big Five" leagues and because of his outstanding form, Brendan Rodgers' team are no longer being dismissed out of hand as title contenders.
City have been deprived of the services of Benjamin Mendy and Leroy Sané through long-term medical problems, with no guarantee either player will be able to recover the performance level that persuaded the club to sign them.
West Ham United striker Sebastien Haller earned his side a 1-0 win at Southampton in the late game to ease them away from the relegation zone and leave Southampton in the bottom three.
Injuries have resulted in the £ 52 million in the summer of 2018 being limited to just 43 appearances, although he has marked start in his last two games with a goal in each of which he had just found three times in his previous 41 games.
However, his coach Maurizio Sarri has picked Manchester City as the team to beat.
"December and January is where you have to show how much you want to win and the boys did that against a hard game".
The win sees Liverpool widen the gap with the chasing pack - including second-placed Leicester City, who drew with Norwich City later in the day.
"Maybe the first season when we went to the final. we did not get the respect we deserved". I would have preferred to be closer to Liverpool but it is going to help us, all the club, the organisation.
But neither Jamie Vardy, who had scored in his past eight league games, nor his team-mates could find the victor as second-bottom Norwich held on for a crucial point.
The leading player behind the scenes in the promulgation of the Super League idea is Real Madrid's Perez, who was appointed President of the new World Club Football Association when it was launched last month.
"We've had a look at one of two areas that we want to strengthen".