Sami Hyypia's first goal of the season was enough to give Liverpool their first win in four Premiership games.
Sami Hyypia celebrates scoring Liverpool's winner
Hyypia latched on to a hopeful punt from Jamie Carragher and, although he scuffed his shot, it still beat Latics keeper Mike Pollitt and rolled home.
Pollitt redeemed himself with a great save from Fernando Morientes at the end of a first half dominated by Liverpool.
But it was Wigan who were on top after the break and only several good stops from Jerzy Dudek denied them a point.
Liverpool had also lost their last three away league games during their recent slump - but were fortunate to be up against a Wigan side without five of their regular strikers.
Latics boss Paul Jewell was forced to put full-back Paul Scharner up front with Andreas Johansson and his side clearly lacked penetration in the final third early on.
Rafael Benitez's side were also dominant in midfield but in the early stages they were continually let down by their final ball.
But despite a lack of decent service, Robbie Fowler was impressing on his first start since rejoining the Reds, contributing some neat touches as well as bringing the first save out of Pollitt with a stooping header.
Only a lack of awareness from Morientes denied Fowler another chance when the Spaniard ran offside and clearly interfered with play when Fowler was clean through and onside.
Wigan's inability to impose themselves on the game inevitably led to further Liverpool chances however, and from one of them centre-backs Carragher and Hyypia combined to score.
Steven Gerrard's free-kick was not properly cleared and when Carragher hoisted the ball back into the area, Hyypia held off former team-mate Stephane Henchoz and got enough on his first-time shot to beat Pollitt.
If the Latics keeper should have done better on that occasion he made amends before half-time when he reacted brilliantly to keep out a close-range effort from Morientes after Fowler swung in an inch-perfect cross.
Liverpool were in complete control at the break but Jewell clearly instructed his players to up the ante in the second half and they came out looking a different side.
Jimmy Bullard had already played two dangerous balls into the area when Dudek was forced into his first save, tipping over Johansson's header.
And the Reds keeper spared Hyypia's blushes before the hour mark when his attempt to clear Matt Jackson's cross sent the ball spinning goalwards before Dudek pushed it away.
A rare attack by Liverpool saw Gerrard test Pollitt again after some clever play by Fowler and Morientes - but most of the action was taking place at the other end.
Arjan De Zeeuw wasted another good chance for Wigan when he failed to find the target with a free header from a corner.
And it was clear that Liverpool's aim was now to take the sting out of the game when Benitez replaced Fowler with a defensive-minded player in Jan Kromkamp on 65 minutes.
It was a strategy that worked, with Wigan running out of steam in the final quarter and Liverpool holding on for only their 10th away Premiership win in 32 attempts under Benitez.
Wigan manager Paul Jewell:
"We were up against it without any recognised strikers and I have to give my lads credit, especially in the second half.
"It is tough but it is where we want to be.
"We've moved mountains to get where we are and we'll have to continue to do so to stay in the top half of the table."
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez:
"We worked really hard for the win and showed we have character.
"It was an important win for us because recent results have not been good.
"It's also important in terms of our confidence and I think the players have got their just desserts because they have worked very hard for it."
Wigan: Pollitt, Jackson, Henchoz, De Zeeuw, Ziegler, Teale, Bullard, Kavanagh, Thompson, Scharner, Johansson (Baines 84). Subs Not Used: Filan, Mahon, Francis, Joyce.
Booked: Thompson, Henchoz.
Liverpool: Dudek, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Riise, Gerrard, Alonso, Hamann, Kewell, Morientes (Cisse 70), Fowler (Kromkamp 66). Subs Not Used: Carson, Traore, Sissoko.
Goals: Hyypia 30.
Ref: R Styles (Hampshire).