DeChambeau, who is bidding to claim his maiden European Tour victory, was not completely satisfied with his display despite holding an advantage heading into Sunday's final round at the Emirates Golf Club.
Li shot a third straight 67 and is the nearest challenger to DeChambeau as he looks for back-to-back titles in Dubai.
Matt Wallace is a further two strokes back in a share of third alongside Ernie Els, a three-time victor in Dubai, with overnight joint-leader Lucas Herbert part of a group four off the pace.
The South African veteran was bogey-free and made just two birdies - on the third and 18th holes - to sit tied third alongside England's Matt Wallace.
"But again, going back to it being my first worldwide win, I really couldn't be more pleased to have this tournament be my first global win, European Tour win".
The frustration of not making a birdie on the par-five 18th, and missing a short birdie putt on the 14th hole, was evident after his round.
"I'm not 100 percent with my golf game right now", the 25-year-old DeChambeau said.
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He continued: "Shoot, I'm still leading, obviously, it's fantastic". But I'm not complaining one bit.
Seeking a fourth win from his last nine starts worldwide, the fifth-ranked DeChambeau has shot rounds of 66, 66 and 68 this week and come off the course frustrated every day. I'm honestly just excited to try and capture an global victory.
The old record for lowest tournament aggregate was set previous year by Li Haotong (23-under par).
Overnight leader Matthew Fitzpatrick slipped back into a four-way tie for 10th place after a disappointing two-under-par round that included a double bogey on the par-three seventh hole.
"It would definitely mean a lot (to win again). I'll just keep working harder".
"It was pretty decent today".
"I like this place", said Els, who played the first two rounds in a golden oldie three-ball with Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal.