Arsenal and Liverpool both made the trip to Malaysia last week to play in front of their adoring Asian public, and although the standard of the opposition means drawing any firm conclusions is perhaps unwise, both Premier League clubs had real cause for optimism after their matches in Kuala Lumpur.
I attended both games as tens of thousands of local fans packed in to watch their heroes, ensuring a fantastic atmosphere for the two clubs in the process. Liverpool faced a Malaysia XI on Saturday and it is probably fair to say that they had a mixed performance, despite ultimately winning 6-3.
The Malaysians had played Arsenal on the Wednesday and were ripped apart: it was 4-0 but could have been 10. Liverpool could not match the passing standards set by their Premier League counterparts and they lacked creativity throughout, so the host team fancied their chances in a way they hadn't three days previously.
Liverpool played two completely different teams in the 90 minutes and the one that started the game failed to impress; they lacked pace and the standard of football was poor. In the second half Liverpool had more ideas but were suspect at the back as Sotirios Kyrgiakos, in particular, was run ragged.
However, Charlie Adam did very well when making his first start following his transfer from Blackpool this summer. I didn't quite realise what a good left foot he had, with his crossing and his corner taking, until I saw him in the flesh. His all-round play was impressive as well and he was Liverpool's best player in the first half. Everything good was channelled through him.
The Scotland international particularly looked effective when linking up with Andy Carroll, dinking balls over the defence as he looked to play the striker in at every given opportunity. That is an avenue Liverpool are likely to exploit this coming season.
If you are going to play Carroll then you have to play to his strengths: namely his aerial prowess. He is aggressive in the air and if you put in a good delivery he will attack it. That is what Adam was trying to do at the weekend, but Carroll himself will need to improve his fitness as he looked quite heavy against Malaysia. He has time to address that before the season starts of course.
When Carroll is fit and raring to do he will also be encouraged by the news that Stewart Downing has arrived in a £20 million deal from Aston Villa. Downing will be charged with supplying Carroll from wide positions and now has a real chance to establish his reputation at the highest level, having proved inconsistent for England.
He has been in the Premier League for ten years and the patience of the Liverpool fans won't be limitless. They will be expecting him to deliver, and quickly.
We don't quite know how Downing is going to function in the team, as although he is traditionally perceived as a left winger, he played on the right to good effect with Villa as well last season, cutting inside onto his stronger foot.
The Reds won't build their whole approach around crossing though, as the great Liverpool sides of the past had a reputation for stylish passing and that is the way that Kenny Dalglish will want to take things eventually.
For Liverpool it will all be about possession, not route one football, so it will be interesting to see how Dalglish reconciles the club's ideals with the specific qualities of the players at his disposal.
With Dalglish in charge people expect immediate success, but football doesn't work that way. If you look at the players he has recruited, I think it is evident that his priority is building a team capable of getting back into the top four, not winning the title at present.
Arsenal are one of the clubs they will be looking to overtake, and the Gunners looked in good shape in their fixture in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday - it was a dominant performance from Arsene Wenger's men. However, we know they are capable of impressing in spells and the real question is whether they can sustain a title challenge across a season. That looks unlikely at present.
With Arsenal's captain staying at home due to injury, and a chronic bout of Barcelona-itis, Aaron Ramsey was handed the chance to impress in the Cesc Fabregas role. You could hardly say that he staked a claim given the quality of the opposition, but he did play very well in that advanced position behind the striker.
Gunners fans will also have been encouraged by the performance of summer signing Carl Jenkinson, who joined the club from Charlton without much fanfare. I have never been a huge fan of Bacary Sagna at right-back because he sometimes looks like he doesn't enjoy defending, and Jenkinson looked very, very good.
He can defend, and he can consistently cross the ball well, which is an aspect of the game that Sagna struggles with.