You can’t put list items inside anchor elements. Anchor is an inline element and list items are block-level elements, and block-level elements can’t go in inline elements. The other way around is possible, though.
That said, it’s really you choice which element you use for styling, especially with fonts which are inherited by children. I usually go from outside to inside, i. e. I style the outermost element(s) first and if some children require special treatment I style those.
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