We present a five-dimensional anisotropic holographic model for light quarks supported by Einstein-dilaton-two-Maxwell action. This model generalizing isotropic holographic model with light quarks is characterized by a Van der Waals-like phase transition between small and large black holes. We compare the location of the phase transition for Wilson loops with the positions of the phase transition related to the background instability and describe the QCD phase diagram in the thermodynamic plane — temperature T and chemical potential μ. The Cornell potential behavior in this anisotropic model is also studied. The asymptotics of the Cornell potential at large distances strongly depend on the parameter of anisotropy and orientation. There is also a nontrivial dependence of the Cornell potential on the boundary conditions of the dilaton field and parameter of anisotropy. With the help of the boundary conditions for the dilaton field one fits the results of the lattice calculations for the string tension as a function of temperature in isotropic case and then generalize to the anisotropic one. © 2021, The Author(s).