Liverpool kept their hopes of finishing fourth alive and kept Wigan in danger of the drop as they dealt out a 4-0 thrashing at the DW Stadium.
The Latics never really got going throughout the game, and it took the visitors just two minutes to open the scoring, Philippe Coutinho picking up Pepe Reina's goal kick before putting in a fine cross for Stewart Downing to head the ball past Ali Al-Habsi, as Liverpool showed no signs of suffering with the absence of Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge.
The pressure from the away side did not dissipate after the goal, and it was no surprise to see the second goal go Liverpool's way. Midway through the half, Coutinho was again the creator as he teed up Luis Suarez to drill the ball into the corner and double his side's advantage. Already, it was beginning to look like a lost cause for Wigan, who were yet to threaten the visitors' goal.
Yet Wigan did come close immediately afterwards, through Emersen Boyce as he let fly with a long-range effort which Pepe Reina had to be at full stretch to keep out. It was unfortunate for the wing-back, but it couldn't inspire his side to improve their performance. An utter shambles soon followed as Luis Suarez was played in with a terrible backpass, and although the Wigan backline recovered, Gary Caldwell had to separate James McArthur and Boyce from squaring up to each other afterwards.
With ten minutes still to go until half-time, it was effectively game over when Liverpool got their third. It was emblematic of the day Wigan were having, Luis Suarez slipping as he took a free-kick on goal, and the ball taking a deflection of Shaun Maloney which deceived Al-Habsi, eventually squirming in off the post.
Wigan still managed to pick themselves up and mount another attack, but once again they found Pepe Reina in good form as he saved from Franco Di Santo's header, to make it all the clearer that it was not going to be the Latics day.
If Wigan hoped to regroup and mount a comeback after half time, their hopes were dashed a few minutes after kick-off when Suarez completed his hat-trick, collecting a through ball after a surging run from Glen Johnson before finishing past Al-Habsi.
It looked like Wigan were going to be on the end of an even worse thrashing, but the game petered out thereafter, with neither side going out of their way to commit men forward. Wigan almost got a consolation goal, when Callum McManaman, who has excelled in his cup displays this year, went on a fine run and put in an excellent cross, but Arouna Kone could not quite force it goalwards.