Just tried on my ancient iPhone 5/iOS 10.x/Safari. If I touch and hold a pop-up menu appears. So obviously that isn't what is desired as far as how the link reacts visually.
I did notice that the browser did add a grayish background around the link making it kind of look like a button for a second. An example of how Safari on iPhone handles giving the user feedback when clicking on a link.
Hopefully someone will have an answer for you.