This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
For those who rolled their eyes when Brendan Rodgers insisted there was still plenty to play for in Liverpool's season after last month's Europa League exit to Zenit St Petersburg, here was the brutal and clinical response.
Stewart Downing opened the scoring in the second minute before Luis Suárez's hat-trick took his Premier League tally to 21 for the season, as the team around him, even with Daniel Sturridge absent through injury, hinted at a brighter future.
Steven Gerrard's passing was magnificent and Philippe Coutinho - the 20-year-old making his second start since joining from Inter Milan for £8.5 million in January - showed a great deal of promise, drifting in from the left flank to wreak havoc and laying on the first two goals.
Suarez's reliability is taken for granted but the challenge for Rodgers's side, who achieved back-to-back league wins for just the third time, is to match it.
They will player better but there was a ruthlessness about them that will satisfy Rodgers, whose team remain nine points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham.
Pepe Reina was still forced to pull off three fine first-half saves but Wigan were dreadful at the back and after gleaning so much hope from their 3-0 win at Reading, this was a real blow to their survival hopes.
Rodgers feels there is no one better in the Premier League than Suarez, just the third Liverpool player, after Robbie Fowler and Fernando Torres, to reach 20 Premier League goals. But the manager is confident of keeping hold of the Uruguayan despite Champions League football looking beyond Liverpool.
"He's clearly the player of the year," Rodgers said. "He's incredible. Forget his quality, it's his hunger and desire. Every time he comes on the pitch he produces a stunning performance.
"I sit here with great confidence that Luis will stay. It would have been easy after the Europa League for the players to feel sorry for themselves but there was great spirit. We're confident we can keep making strides forward."
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez acknowledged that his team stood no chance after their woeful defending in the opening quarter. Arouna Kone had a good chance to give the hosts the lead after just 30 seconds but stabbed weakly at goal. A minute later, Reina's long clearance was collected by Coutinho and the Brazilian beat his man before clipping over a perfect cross for the unmarked Downing to head in.
Coutinho then collected the ball from Gerrard and guided a wonderful pass through for Suarez to double the advantage. Suarez's second was not short on fortune, with the striker slipping as he struck a free-kick, the ball glancing off Shaun Maloney and in off a post after team-mates James McArthur and Boyce had to be pulled apart.
Reina denied Boyce, Franco Di Santo and Jean Beausejour in some style but any prospect of a contest was killed three minutes after the interval when Glen Johnson was allowed to advance before guiding through for Suarez to poke home.
"It's clear we need to learn some lessons quickly because the next five game at home we can't defend the manner we did in the first 20 minutes," Martinez said.
"If we are that soft defensively it's very difficult to win football matches. It made the game impossible."
Wigan Athletic (3-4-3): Al Habsi; Scharner, Caldwell (Alcaraz 52), Figueroa; Boyce, McArthur, McCarthy, Beausejour (McManaman 61); Di Santo (Espinoza 52), Kone, Maloney. Subs not used: Robles, Henriquez, Gomez, Stam.